The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics on Thursday for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and also reportedly sent righty John Lackey to St. Louis.
Lester, who can become a free agent at the end of the season, had been the subject of trade rumours leading up to the 4 p.m. ET deadline to deal players without having to pass them through waivers.
With Boston fading from post-season contention, he was pulled from his scheduled start Wednesday night against Toronto.
Lester, 30, was Boston's only All-Star this year. He's 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA and is striking out more than a batter an inning for the first time since 2010.
He joins a stellar Oakland rotation that includes All-Stars Scott Kazmir and Jeff Samardzija, who was acquired from the Cubs earlier this year, and ascending youngster Sonny Gray.
A's general manager Billy Beane gave up a fine power hitter in Cespedes, a 28-year-old Cuban who's in his third big-league season. He hit 49 homers over his first two campaigns and has another 17 this year. Cespedes's career on-base percentage (.318) is not great, but his contract is reasonable: he's in the third year of a four-year, $36-million US contract.
Gomes was a useful part on Boston's World Series-winning team a year ago but is just a .244 career hitter.
Sox ship Lackey to Cards
Boston kept dealing, trading veteran right-hnaded starter John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for outfielder Allen Craig and righty Joe Kelly.
Lackey, 35, is 11-7 with a 3.60 ERA. His five-year, $82.5-million contract will expire at season's end, but it contains a clause that allows his team to add an extra year at the major-league minimum of $500,000 if he underwent Tommy John surgery at any time, and he did in 2011.
Craig was an All-Star in 2013 but is batting only .237 with seven homers this year.
Boston also traded reliever Andrew Miller to the Baltimore Orioles for minor-league pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez, and sent shortstop Stephen Drew to the Yankees for utilityman Kelly Johnson.
A's send Millone to Twins
Oakland reportedly stayed busy too. With a surplus of arms on their hands, the A's reportedly traded lefty starter Tommy Millone to Minnesota for outfielder Sam Fuld.
Millone had asked to be moved after being sent to the minors following Oakland's acquisition of Samardzija and Jason Hammel from the Cubs.
In 16 big-league starts this year, Millone is 6-3 with a 3.55 ERA.
Fuld has a strong .370 on-base percentage in 195 plate appearances.