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Point/Counterpoint: Which MLB Trade Deadline deal was the best?

BY DI STAFF | AUGUST 04, 2014 5:00 AM

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David Price

Starting pitching is the foundation of a championship team. Every year as the trade deadline approaches, contending teams are on the prowl for veterans to beef up their rotations for a run in the postseason.

The Detroit Tigers already had arguably the best rotation in the majors, and now, it’s not even a contest.

David Price has been a top-five starter in the league over the past five seasons with the Tampa Bay Rays. This year, Price has posted a 3.11 ERA and has led the majors in strikeouts with 189.

The 6-6 lefty is now part of a staff that consists of the past three AL Cy Young award winners: Price, Justin Verlander, and Max Sherzer.

It just doesn’t seem fair, but it’s real. Underrated pitchers Anibal Sanchez and Rick Porcello round out a rotation that could go down as one of the best ever.

The addition of Price gives a ton of flexibility to the Tigers for the playoffs. They have five guys who can start, but they will only need to use four of them. This means that one or more of the standouts can make relief appearances in tight games.

Oh, and Price is also signed through next season. If Sherzer bolts in free agency the Tigers won’t miss a beat, unlike Oakland’s situation with acquired ace Jon Lester.

The Tigers were already a legitimate contender before the trade deadline. After acquiring Price, they will be an extremely tough out in the postseason.

— by Charles Green

Jon Lester

The Oakland Athletics have acquired Lester, who is considered a proven ace.

The AL West-leading Athletics acquired Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. With a current record of 66-41, Oakland now has a better chance to stay ahead of the competition with Lester on the roster.

The left handed pitcher has allowed only 7 earned runs in the last eight games with an impressive 54 strikeouts and 9 walks. He is 10-7 and has a career-best 2.52 earned run average in the 21 starts this season.

Lester also joins starting pitchers Sonny Gray (12-3), Scott Kazmir (12-3), Jeff Samardzija, and Jason Hammel, the latter two having been acquired on July 4 from the Chicago Cubs.

Lester’s Aug. 2 début was solid, in which he earned a win over the Royals while allowing 3 earned runs in 6.2 innings. Only allowing 1 run through the first six innings, Lester began to falter in the seventh before coming out of the game. He will start again on Thursday against the Twins.

Last year, Lester helped the Red Sox win their third World Series in 10 seasons by getting two of the four wins against St. Louis. Big things seem to be on the horizon for Lester and the Athletics.

— by Nick Steffen

Yoenis Cespedes

The MLB finally had some headline names on the move for this year’s trade deadline, and among those was Cespedes. The Red Sox were able to pry the two-time Home Run Derby winner away from Oakland, and they come away from this year’s deadline feeling far from Cespedes-trian.

The Red Sox won’t make any serious run at the pennant this season, so they were comfortable being sellers at the deadline. They found a perfect partner in the win-now Athletics and brought in a 28-year-old power hitter who is still fewer than three years into the process of adjusting to MLB pitching.

The Sox have had a long line of notable power hitters in recent decades, and Cespedes will be an exciting addition to that tradition in Boston. Moreover, in a “lost” season, the Red Sox could essentially get him for free.

General Manager Ben Cherington traded away Lester and Gomes in the deal for Cespedes, but he could very well have all three players on the team in 2015. Lester has expressed interest in a return to Boston, and Gomes could be open to re-signing as a free agent as well.

The Red Sox have lost their season, but somehow brought in one of the bright young boppers in the MLB, and they may still get their former ace back in the off-season. That’s how you win a trade deadline.

— by Kyle Mann


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