The Oakland A's are trading away fan favorite, slugger Yoenis Cespedes, the two-time Home Run Derby winner who helped put the team on the national stage.
In exchange, the A's are gaining pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes from the Boston Red Sox. Gomes is from Petulama and previously played for the A's.
Alex Speier of WEEI 93.7 FM first reported the blockbuster swap early Thursday morning, citing "multiple" anonymous sources. Joe Stiglich of Comcast Sports Network Bay Area confirmed the trade, saying that the A's reportedly are receiving a modest portion of cash to help cover Lester’s remaining salary this season, and they’re sending Boston a competitive balance draft pick as part of the trade.
The Athletics officially announced the deal in an email Thursday morning.
In other baseball trading news, NBC sports reported that Tommy Milone, 27, is leaving the A's for Minnesota, and the Twins' Sam Fuld is coming back to Oakland.
Cespedes, 28, is the right-handed power hitter the Red Sox have sorely lacked, CSNNE reported. He averaged 25 homers a year in his first two seasons with the A's after defecting from his native Cuba, and has 17 homers so far this year to go along with a .256 batting average, a .303 on-base percentage and a .464 slugging percentage.
The 28-year-old Cespedes signed a four-year contract with the A's in February 2012, and can be a free agent after next season if he doesn't agree to an extension.
As MLB.com's Joey Nowak noted, the A's continue to bolster their pitching staff and position themselves for a playoff run with the acquisition of Lester, a 10-game winner already this year and a three-time All-Star.
While the Red Sox look toward next season, the A's are determined to take the next step after losing in each of the past two Octobers in five-game division series to the Detroit Tigers. Oakland was off Thursday before returning home to begin a weekend series with the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.
It's unclear what day Lester would start. Sonny Gray (12-3) is scheduled for Friday, but manager Bob Melvin has discussed the idea of giving some pitchers extra days between outings to keep them fresh in the second half.
Beane believes in starting pitching depth, and the A's sure have it. Lester joins Gray, Scott Kazmir and recently acquired Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, each dealt by the Chicago Cubs on July 4.
Lester has said leaving the Red Sox doesn't rule out a return to the team next season.
He had said he would take a hometown discount to stay in Boston, but the team's four-year, $70 million offer in spring training fell far short of what he could get on the open market.
Lester leaves his only pro baseball organization. The Red Sox drafted him in the second round in 2002. He made his major league debut on June 10, 2006 and got no decision in a 7-4 loss to the Texas Rangers. He won five of his next seven starts before taking his first loss in his 10th.
In his nine major league seasons, all with Boston, Lester is 110-63 with a 3.64 ERA. He's also a proven postseason star with a 3-0 record in his two World Series. He pitched 5 2-3 shutout innings against the Colorado Rockies in the clinching fourth game in 2007.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.