The dream is over. Jon Lester won't be on the Orioles, not unless they want to offer him big bucks in the off season. Lester, Jonny Gomes, and just under $1M have been shipped to Oakland in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and the A's 2015 competitive balance draft pick.
Cespedes is only under contract through 2015, which means the Red Sox will only get a year and two months worth of him, and those two months are in a lost season. But perhaps they're considering that they'll re-sign Lester and then next year they'll have Lester, Cespedes, and the players that have been injury prone this year, and they'll be right back in business. And in addition they'll be getting a draft pick to help stock their farm system.
As for the A's, they probably won't even notice that Cespedes is gone. Their offense is averaging five runs per game, and while Cespedes is having a fine year, with a 117 wRC+. But of the regulars on the team, five have been more productive. It seems they can easily take that hit in their lineup in exchange for getting an ace like Lester down the stretch.
Oakland GM Billy Beane once famously said, "My shit doesn't work in the playoffs." Well it seems the Beane is trying to modify his tactics so that his shit has the best possible chance of working with the playoffs. The A's were going to the playoffs without Jeff Samardzija and Jon Lester, but he went out and got them anyway. He's collecting aces and it's making the A's look completely unstoppable.
I'm not sure what the Orioles would have had to give up to get Lester. We'll start with the draft pick, since the Orioles also have one of those to give away. It was rumored that Miguel Gonzalez was being discussed between the Orioles and Red Sox. Cespedes is most certainly a better player than Gonzalez, but he's under contract for two years longer than Cespedes. It appears the Red Sox weren't as interested in moderate value over a longer haul when they could have a bigger threat for next year only. Could the O's have matched that if that's the route the Red Sox want to take? I'm not sure.
Ugh, you know what this means. The Red Sox are going to do what they can over the offseason to become the best team possible in a very quick turnaround. Let's just hope that works out as well for the 2015 Red Sox as it did for the 2013 Blue Jays.It wasn't meant to be, Orioles fans.