Cardinals get veteran lefty Jon Lester from rebuilding Nationals

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. LOUIS — The Washington Nationals send veteran left-hander Jon Lester to the St. Louis Cardinals at the deadline.

Lester becomes the second experienced lefty to join St. Louis, which also acquired J.A Happ from the Minnesota Twins.

Cardinals president John Mozeliak said the club accomplished its goal of stabilizing its pitching without giving away any top prospects.

“That was something that was critical in our decision-making,” Mozeliak said. “Needless to say, obviously today we felt like we took a couple steps forward without having to sacrifice those futures.”

The Nationals have entered a full rebuild less than two years after winning the World Series, also trading away Max Scherzer, Trea Turner, Kyle Schwarber, Brad Hand, Daniel Hudson, Yan Gomes and Josh Harrison in a 24-hour span.

The 37-year-old Lester was 3-5 with a 5.02 ERA in 16 starts during his first season with Washington. He has won three World Series titles in his 16-year career: two with Boston and one with the Chicago Cubs.

The Cardinals entered Friday at .500 and trailing first-place Milwaukee by 9 1/2 games in the NL Central. St. Louis was 7 1/2 games behind in the NL wild-card race.

“The sense of urgency is still as high as it was beginning of April, the middle of May,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said.

Washington acquired speedy 25-year-old outfielder Lane Thomas from St. Louis. Thomas hit .104 in 32 games for the Cardinals this season.