We didn’t see this coming: WEEI’s Alex Speier reports that the Oaland Athletics have acquired Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes.
This makes the third front line starting pitcher added to the A’s rotation in less than a month, with Lester joining Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel who came to Oakland from Chicago at the beginning of July. Along with Sonny Gray, this gives the A’s perhaps the best starting rotation in the American League. Possibly in all of baseball. It certainly signals that the A’s are going for it without hesitation or pause in 2014.
For the Red Sox: a big problem — production in the outfield — is solved. They didn’t get the sorts of prospects everyone expected they’d get. But in Cespedes they received one of the most powerful hitters in the game who is under team control through 2015. And of course the Red Sox have the means to extend Cespedes if they like what they see from him over the next year and a half. It is worth wondering if his batting line — already good on the power side, even if lacking in the on-base side of things — improves in a more hitter-friendly park like Fenway.
We’ll have much more on the fallout from this monster deal, including what it means for Boston, for Oakland and for the rest of baseball as the day goes on.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.