Jul 25, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester (31) throws a pitch during the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

How Trades Set A's Up for Postseason

Say goodbye to Yoenis Cespedes and Tommy Milone. Say hello to Jon Lester, and familiar faces, Jonny Gomes and Sam Fuld.

The A’s sent Cespedes to the Red Sox for Gomes and the coveted Lester and fifteen minutes later, dealt Milone to the Twins for Fuld.

Although, there is still a little less than half an hour of trade deadline talk, and A’s still lack a solid second basemen and Jason Hammel has been mentioned as a possible trade target for a few teams, let’s move forward with what we have right now.

As a fan favorite was sent packing, the A’s, and fans, are now looking to the immediate future. But what do these trades mean and where do they leave the A’s with only two months remaining before October.

Adding a bonafide ace like Lester bolsters a pitching staff that is fourth in ERA and second in WHIP in the majors. Lester brings with him, not only a 2.52 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP, but postseason – and World Series – experience. Lester, the two-time World Series champ with Boston, boasts a 6-4 record in the postseason with a 2.11 ERA. But, Lester has also never lost in the World Series, going 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA and a 0.762 WHIP.

So, with a postseason appearance almost all but imminent, the A’s “four-headed monster” pitching staff would look like this: Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija, Scott Kazmir and Sonny Gray.

That lineup not only gives A’s fans the chills, but it has to give A’s opponents the quivers. All four of those pitchers have sub-2.93 ERA.

Pitching is what wins in the postseason, and if that saying holds true, the A’s are the obvious favorites for this season.

When it comes to the loss of Cespedes, it leaves an outfield of Coco Crisp/Craig Gentry (when he returns from the DL) in center, Gomes in left more than likely platooning with Stephen Vogt and Brandon Moss and Josh Reddick in right platooning with Sam Fuld.

Fuld, a career .255/.336/.365 vs LHP, has had solid showings this season against lefties this season batting .300/.390/.440 according to Baseball Reference. Reddick on the other hand has a .287/.340/.503 triple slash against right handed pitchers this season.

Now shifting the attention to the left field platoon, Gomes is absolutely filthy against southpaws, with a scorching slash of .302/.400/.431 this year. Brandon Moss has been pretty consistent against right or left pitching this season, but his power is clearly represented against right handed pitching, with 19 of his 23 HR coming against them. He also has a .255/.336/.514 slash.

Vogt has been walking up to the batter’s box with fire following him like an NFL Blitz character, and has shown utter disregard of what pitcher is throwing, but against right-handers he’s hitting .365/.396/.524 on the year. Bob Melvin won’t have to choose between Vogt and Moss luckily, since he can put one in left field and the other at first base against right handed pitching.

With the A’s bats in somewhat of a funk currently, it’ll be a nice influence to add Gomes and the red-hot Fuld for the series against the Royals, which begins tomorrow night. Lester, as Susan Slusser has tweeted, is expected to start for the A’s on Saturday.

Questions and what-ifs are always going to be thrown around, but with two-thirds of the season wrapped up, one thing is for sure, the best team in baseball just got better.

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Tags: Jon Lester Oakland Athletics Yoenis Cespedes

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