Have you caught your breath yet?
The Red Sox took everyone for a ride Thursday, executing four trades before Major League Baseball’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. It was a crazy day for several teams across the league, but for Boston, it was franchise-altering.
The four trades — along with links to their breakdowns — are below.
1. The Red Sox traded left-hander Jon Lester, outfielder Jonny Gomes and cash considerations to the Oakland Athletics for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a 2015 competitive balance draft pick.
2. The Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey, minor league left-hander Corey Littrell and cash considerations to the St. Louis Cardinals for first baseman/outfielder Allen Craig and right-hander Joe Kelly.
3. The Red Sox traded left-hander Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for minor league left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez.
4. The Red Sox traded shortstop Stephen Drew and cash considerations to the New York Yankees for infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson.
The Red Sox will have a new look and feel when they begin a three-game series Friday against the Yankees at Fenway Park. The 2014 season also will be of even more importance, as the final 54 games represent open auditions for several players, namely those joining Boston’s starting rotation.
An exhausted Ben Cherington spoke with the media shortly after Thursday’s deadline. Let’s go over some information provided by the Red Sox general manager, along with some other tidbits sprinkled in for good measure.
– The Red Sox were offered several attractive prospect packages for Lester and Lackey, according to Cherington. However, Boston prioritized acquiring impact major leaguers, hence the additions of Cespedes, Craig and Kelly.
The main deadline goal? Build toward getting better as quickly as possible.
– Clay Buchholz is the only remaining member of Boston’s Opening Day starting rotation, as Lester, Lackey, Jake Peavy and Felix Doubront all have been traded.
– Could the Red Sox potentially re-sign Lester over the offseason?
“He’s an Oakland A right now, so I don’t think it’s right for me to talk about that, other than to say looking back that we certainly had a desire to engage on a contract conversation with him,” Cherington said. “That conversation just didn’t happen enough for whatever reason. As we got deeper into the season, he made it clear that that wasn’t something that he wanted to focus on right now and so we honored his desire. And we had conversation with Jon about that, that we respected that position, but because of the performance of the team, that meant that we both might have to deal with this possibility.”
– Kelly, 26, will immediately join the Red Sox’s rotation.
The Red Sox wanted to obtain at least one major league starting pitcher if they were going to trade Lester and Lackey. Red Sox scouts have long liked Kelly, and the expectation is that he will quickly develop into a core component of Boston’s rotation.
– Anthony Ranaudo will make his major league debut Friday. Christian Vazquez said Friday that he will be the rookie’s batterymate.
The Red Sox obviously have a bevy of young starting pitchers, including Ranauado, Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa and Brandon Workman. The Sox will use the final few months to assess each.
– The Red Sox are expected to be active in the starting pitching market this offseason, whether it be through trades or in free agency.
– More teams called about Miller than any other player on the Red Sox, according to Cherington. The GM said pretty much every contending team inquired about the left-handed reliever, who will be a free agent this offseason.
– Miller’s departure leaves an opening in Boston’s bullpen. Drake Britton and Tommy Layne represent potential replacements, assuming the Red Sox would like to fill the vacancy with another left-handed reliever.
– Miller didn’t rule out returning to the Red Sox in free agency. Cherington also sounded open to the possibility.
– The Red Sox traded Drew at the last minute. Cherington said there was no hesitation about dealing with the Yankees.
The Drew-for-Johnson swap marked the first trade between the teams since Aug. 13, 1997, when Boston shipped Mike Stanton and Randy Brown to New York in exchange for Tony Armas Jr. and Jim Mecir.
– Xander Bogaerts will return to being the Red Sox’s starting shortstop with Drew out of the picture.
– Will Middlebrooks, who has been rehabbing at Triple-A Pawtucket, is expected to rejoin the Red Sox on Friday. He’ll return to being Boston’s starting third baseman.
– Brock Holt’s role will be determined by Red Sox manager John Farrell. In all likelihood, that means Holt will continue to serve as a human Swiss army knife.
– Shane Victorino, who exited Wednesday’s game against the Toronto Blue Jays in the fifth inning, is expected to miss more time. It’s possible the outfielder could land on the disabled list yet again.
– The Red Sox were very familiar with Cespedes, having scouted the Cuban outfielder before he signed with Oakland prior to the 2012 season.
Boston was intrigued by Cespedes’ skill set — Cherington referred to him as “powerful” and “dynamic” — and thought he’d provide something the organization lacked.
The Red Sox also were impressed with how Cespedes has handled the big stage. The 28-year-old is hitting .350 (14-for-40) with a homer, six RBIs and a .920 OPS in 10 career playoff games. He’s also the reigning back-to-back Home Run Derby champion.
– Cespedes has played left field (232 games) and center field (75 games) in his major league career. The Red Sox plan to try him out in right field in Victorino’s absence.
– The Red Sox entered last week’s series in Toronto looking to add pieces. Their mindset changed as the team hit another rough patch.
Cherington said Thursday that there’s nothing celebratory about Boston’s deadline moves, as they became necessary through a lack of success. However, he’s happy with the players the Red Sox were able to acquire.
“I think we’re in a better position than we were a week ago, but certainly not done,” Cherington said. “Obviously now that the deadline has passed, there’s likely a lot less activity as far as roster moves the rest of the way, other than I’m sure at some point some young players will come up. Hopefully we’ve done things to get a head start on the offseason, address some things, but I think, and I know John (Farrell) feels the same way, we’ve got 54 games left. These are now the most important 54 games of our season because we’ve got a lot to find out.”
Photo via Twitter/@BostonGlobe