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Trade Deadline Madness

The Red Sox have traded away 80 percent of this year's Opening Day rotation - and that's a good thing!

The Sox traded Jake Peavy to the Giants for two pitching prospects; traded Jon Lester (and Johnny Gomes) to the A's for Yoenis Cespedes; traded Felix Doubront to the Cubs for three hot dogs; Andrew Miller to the Orioles for a top pitching prospect; and traded John Lackey to the Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly.  Meanwhile, AJ Pierzynski has long since left the building (and signed with the Cards); Stephen Drew was sent to the first team that raised their hand (the Yankees and their willingness to pay his salary); and one has to think that Mike Carp is headed out of town as well.

Let's get this straight first: the Red Sox were not any more likely to keep Lester and Miller yesterday than they are today.

Lester, who's 30, is going to want and receive a contract of 6-7 years.  The Sox would give him 4 and maybe 5.  If Lester wants to stay, he can take shorter term and perhaps more money per year.  Otherwise, it's not happening.  Really, the Red Sox should have tried to give him a contract extension a few years ago that would have taken him to age 34 or 35.  No way they are obligating themselves to pay him something like $18 million when he's 38.

Miller is likewise in line for a contract that I can't see the Sox giving him.  If Matt Thornton, who wasn't even added to the post-season rosters last year for the Sox, could get a 2 year, $7 million with the Yankees last winter.  And Boone Logan gets 3 years, $16.5 million from the Rockies last offseason.  What's Miller worth when he's young and far better than either of those guys - both against lefties and righties.

I wish the Sox could have kept Lackey but it seems he was so annoyed by the contract he signed which would pay him minimum salary next year - because he was paid $15 million for not playing at all in 2012 - that he was thinking of sitting out next year if he didn't get more money.  I would have offered him something like $20 million for two years to replace the $500,000 contract for next year.  But a guy who won't live up to a contract he signed maybe wouldn't see the logic in that either.  So he was probably done with the Sox.

Now, what did they get in return?  A lot.  The Red Sox have a better chance of winning Clay Buchholz's and Rubby De La Rosa's next starts than they did before.  They have less of a chance of winning Anthony Ranaudo's and Brandon Workman's next starts than they did when Lester and Lackey had those spots.  But that will solve itself to some extent in the offseason when the Sox go after new veteran starters or two (including Lester).

The Red Sox outfield just went from an offensive liability (though they had been getting on base) to a strength, especially looking to 2015.  Allen Craig will take over leftfield with support from Daniel Nava against tough righties.  He's a strong hitter though he's had a bad year - and can struggle against righties.  He can also play first if Napoli goes down (better than Alex Hassan or Ryan Lavarnway for sure).

And then there's Cespedes.  He's a fantastic player both offensively and defensively.  He will hit a ton of homers, swing at everything, and, alongside Jackie Bradley, Jr., will give the Sox amazing outfield arms.  This was a complete steal.  We took the cleanup hitter from one of the best teams in the league.

Meanwhile, getting rid of Drew allows the Sox to give Xander Bogaerts one shot to prove he's really a shortstop - and let's Will Middlebrooks get another shot to show he's a major league hitter.  This will bring clarity to what happens on the left side next year, but I'm sure it won't be Bogaerts and Middlebrooks again in 2015 - and it won't be Merrero yet.

Meanwhile, De La Rosa, Webster, Workman, and Ranaudo - and Joe Kelly - get to take big leaps forward in their development and show if they are ready to compete for rotation spots next year - when there will likely only be two spots for them to fight over along with Matt Barnes and Henry Owens.

The Sox lineup going forward should be:
Righties: Holt (3B), Peddy (2B), Papi (DH), Napoli (1B), Cespedes (RF), Craig/Nava (LF), Bogaerts (SS), Vazquez (C), Bradley (CF)

Lefties: Holt (CF), Peddy (2B), Papi (DH), Napoli (1B), Cespedes (RF), Craig (LF), Bogaerts (SS), Middlebrooks (3B)/Victorino (CF), Vazquez (C)

Lastly, let's remember that the Sox are much more likely to be able to secure an ace and a second solid veteran starter during next off season than they would be a hitter like Cespedes - and major league hitter like him.  And Craig is a great hitter when healthy and cheap enough that he's worth the risk that he might not be great again.


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