Billy Beane insisted that the deal to acquire Jon Lester from the Red Sox for Yoenis Cespedes was the right one. (Getty Images)

Billy Beane says A's wouldn't have made playoffs without Jon Lester trade

October 02, 2014 - 1:46 pm
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At the time, the trade sending Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the A's in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes sent shockwaves through the baseball landscape. Those continue to reverberate more than two months later. The A's season came to a startling halt on Tuesday night, when Lester could not hold a 7-3 advantage that he carried into the eighth inning, with Oakland eventually falling, 8-7, to the Royals in extra innings. The July 31 deal between the A's and Red Sox had long been controversial in Oakland given the plummeting productivity of the A's lineup, which averaged 3.5 runs per game while going 22-33 following the trade deadline, going from the best team in the majors and a two-game lead in the AL West to losing 12 games to the Angels in the division and barely holding on to edge out the Mariners by one game for a wild card spot. But Beane disputed the notion that the trade was the cause of his team's collapse down the stretch. '€œSimply put," Beane told reporters in Oakland, "if we don'€™t have Jon Lester, I don'€™t think we make the playoffs.'€ Lester was 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts with the A's, pitching at essentially the same dominant level at which he'd been performing with the Sox prior to the trade. Cespedes likewise performed at a comparable level with the Sox (.269/.296/.423) that he did prior to the trade with the A's (.256/.303/.464). Beane suggested that the Angels' dominance over the season's final two months would have made it impossible for the A's to keep pace in the division, regardless of whether or not the trade had occurred. '€œOne thing I'€™m going to say right now,'€ Beane told reporters, '€œthe Angels were going to catch us. They played nearly .700 ball from a certain point on.'€

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