Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes traded to A’s for Yoenis Cespedes

Jon LesterThe Boston Red Sox have reportedly agreed to trade Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. The move was first reported by WEEI.com’s Alex Speier.

The Red Sox made it clear in recent weeks that they were looking to move Lester, as they are obviously not prepared to pay the lefthander the amount of money he will command on the open market. Boston made an offer of four years and $70 million over the offseason, which was borderline laughable. Lester has thrown over 200 innings in six of his last seven seasons and has proven that he can pitch effectively in the postseason. He’ll likely sign a deal worth somewhere in the six-year, $150 million range.

Boston was initially said to be looking for two top-tier prospects in return for Lester, but the Sox must feel that Cespedes fills a need more immediately. The 28-year-old will provide some middle-of-the-order pop that the Red Sox have been lacking this season. Cespedes is owed $10.5 million in 2015 before he becomes a free agent.

As for the A’s, some of the best pitching in the league just got better. Lester and his 10-7 record and 2.52 ERA will join a staff that is in the top five in the league in most pitching categories. Pitching wins in the playoffs. The A’s, who have the best record in baseball, now have plenty of it.

Yoenis Cespedes throws out Albert Pujols this time (Video)

When are the Angels going to learn that you don’t run on Yoenis Cespedes?

Yoenis Cespedes throwA day after throwing out Howie Kendrick at home plate on one of the best throws of all time, Cespedes hosed another Angels runner on the bases. This time Albert Pujols was his victim.

Pujols hit a ball into the left field corner in the bottom of the sixth inning with the Angels trailing the A’s 4-1. Just like Tuesday, Cespedes misplayed the ball, leading Pujols to try taking an extra base. Instead of stopping at second with a stand-up double, Pujols tried going to third, and Yoenis fired another missile to gun him down.

Cespedes leads the majors with nine outfield assists this season, four of them coming against the Angels. He’s hosed three Angels at the plate and now Pujols at third.

The Angels have just been giving away outs on the bases, and Pujols has been especially terrible about it this season. He needs to realize he’s not the guy who had decent speed earlier in his career. Station to station, Albert, that’s how you have to play the game now. I’m sure it’s a tease watching Mike Trout do those things every day and you want to show you can do it too, but you can’t anymore. Just admit it and let it go.

As for Cespedes, I’m beginning to think the practice of muffing a ball and throwing out a runner is a planned strategy. He’s like that cornerback who plays off the receiver or pretends to trip in order to trick the quarterback into throwing his way so he can get an interception. He’s too good.

Yoenis Cespedes with maybe the best throw you’ll ever see (Video)

Yoenis Cespedes uncorked what may or may not end up being the best throw you will ever see in your life.

Yoenis Cespedes throwThe Angels and A’s were tied at 1 in the bottom of the 8th inning with one out and a runner on first Tuesday night. Mike Trout sent a line drive to left for a hit, and Cespedes misplayed the ball. It bounced off his glove and rolled to the wall. Instead of running directly to the ball, Cespedes looked up to get a sense of where Howie Kendrick was on the bases. After seeing that Kendrick was heading home, Cespedes rushed over, picked up the ball, and launched a perfect strike to catcher Derek Norris, who tagged out Kendrick for the out to keep the game tied.

Once you factor everything in — that Cespedes made an error and recovered; that Kendrick was so close to home when Cespedes threw the ball; that Cespedes threw it home on a fly; that he threw it with incredible accuracy; that he threw it over Kendrick to get it to Norris; and that it maintained the tie game — you get a sense for how awesome it was.

GIF: Yoenis Cespedes with a cannon from the left field corner... on Twitpic

The only thing I recall that is comparable was Bo Jackson hosing Harold Reynolds at the plate in 1989 at the Kingdome in Seattle:

That was so awesome. I seriously have a baseball boner from that throw.

Yoenis Cespedes breaks up Justin Verlander no-hitter with single (Video)

Justin Verlander was looking to become just the third pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in the postseason, but his bid came up short after he allowed a single to Yoenis Cespedes with two outs in the seventh of Game 5 of the ALDS on Thursday.

Yoenis CespedesVerlander retired the first two batters of the seventh, but he fell behind 1-0 to Cespedes and allowed a hard ground ball up the middle for a hit. Verlander wanted to go outside to Cespedes and hit his spot on the corner, but the Cuban outfielder delivered a shot up the middle for the hit. You can’t really complain about losing a no-hitter on such a clean shot.

After giving up the hit, Verlander struck out Seth Smith to end the inning.

Verlander actually had a perfect game going until the sixth when he walked Josh Reddick.

Verlander has thrown two no-hitters in his MLB career and was looking for his third. His first came in 2007 against the Milwaukee Brewers, and the other came in 2011 against the Toronto Blue Jays, when he walked one batter and faced the minimum of 27.

To show his level of dominance against the A’s, we’ll share this stat via Elias Sports Bureau: Verlander’s 30 consecutive scoreless innings against the A’s in the playoffs is a postseason record for any pitcher against one team.

Verlander allowed a run in the first inning of Game 1 of the 2012 ALDS against the A’s and then shut them out the next six innings. He pitched a 9-inning complete game shutout against the A’s in Game 5 of the 2012 ALDS. He went seven scoreless in Game 2 of the 2013 ALDS, and eight more scoreless in Game 5 of the 2013 ALDS.

Yoenis Cespedes caps off Home Run Derby with massive bat flip (Video)

Yoenis-Cespedes-Home-Run-Derby-bat-flipFor those who actually enjoy the Home Run Derby, last night was a special treat. Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper, two of the most exciting young players in the game, battled it out in the finals with Cespedes coming out on top.

After Cespedes launched 17 homers in the first round, it was only fitting that he hit nine in the finals to beat Harper, who was the model of consistency by hitting eight in each round. It was even more fitting that the winning homer was an absolute shot, traveling an estimated 455 feet to dead center field. And naturally, Cespedes topped it off with an epic bat flip.

Are we surprised? Not really. Most people were picking guys like Prince Fielder and Jose Bautista to win the Home Run Derby this year, but remember that amazing feat Cespedes accomplished during spring training? We probably should have seen this coming.

Yoenis Cespedes reunites with mother, family after stressful year

For over a year, Oakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had hardly any idea of where his mother, Estella Milanes, and 11 of his family members were or where they might end up. Cespedes defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic in the summer of 2011 to pursue a career in professional baseball. The 26-year-old has succeeded, but prior to this week he had done so at the expense of having to be separated from his family.

According to MLB.com’s Jane Lee, Milanes had been struggling to emigrate from Cuba to the United States to join her son. After a long stay in the Dominican Republic, she and her family members were detained as illegal immigrants and held in the Turks and Caicos Islands. They finally made it to Miami over the weekend, where Cespedes paid them a surprise visit.

“No one knew I was coming,” Cespedes said Tuesday through translator Ariel Prieto. “Everyone was sleeping, so I turned on all of the radios, all of the TVs. Nobody woke up, so I went upstairs and started knocking on all of the doors and screaming.

“I’m very happy. So much happiness.”

Cespedes stayed for 12 hours before he had to return to the airport for his flight back to Phoenix, but as you can imagine his family was overjoyed to see him. During the first four months of last season, Cespedes said he was in contact with his mother only about 10 times. There was even a stretch of about three or four days where he had no idea where she was.

“I had no idea where my family was,” he said. “They just disappeared.

Milanes represented Cuba in the 2000 Summer Olympics, where she was a softball pitcher who topped speeds of 80 mph. Cespedes proudly said that she was the “best lefty softball pitcher in all of Latin America” for a 10-year stretch and joked that she is now going to be his second hitting coach. Judging by the feat he pulled off over the winter, it doesn’t seem like he needs much advice.

It’s easy to look at someone who has a four-year, $36 million contract at age 26 and think about how lucky they are. Cespedes’ emotional reunion with his mother and family reminds us that there is more to life than just a bank account.

Photo credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

Yoenis Cespedes hits home run with donut weight on his bat (Video)

Yoenis-Cespedes-donut-weightOakland A’s outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is incredibly strong. If his 23 homers and slugging percentage of .505 in his first MLB season last year didn’t prove that to you, the feat he accomplished in spring training will.

On Friday, Cespedes told A’s manager Bob Melvin that he was going to hit a home run during batting practice with a donut weight still on his bat. He kept his word.

“He told me today he was going to hit a home run off of me with the donut on the bat,” Melvin said, via CSNBayArea.com. “That’s what he did.”

“That was almost like Babe Ruth calling his shot.”

For those of you who didn’t know, a donut weight is typically used by players in the on-deck circle to prepare for their at-bat. It makes the bat heavier while warming up, which ideally increases bat speed by making the bat feel lighter when you step to the plate.

People don’t usually hit home runs with the weight still attached. Cespedes may not be admiring his actual home runs anymore, but that was one worth watching.

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