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Lester/Cespedes


floplag

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Perusing the articles this morning i came across one from Heyman that for me kinda rekindled the matter.

 

In his article he states that the As should absolutely have no regrets around the Cespedes for Lester trade, and it goes on to talk about some of the stats that make me question his conclusions.

 

For example, the As are a combined 22-31 since the trade was made.  Lester is 6-3 since that time, the team overall is 7-3 in games he has started.   Cespedes hasn't been great in Bos but has made some impact in a few key spots but those go unmentioned here and he says only that he has been only slightly better than league average overall.

 

What he does mention is the fact that the As overall have scored 1.5 runs per game less since the trade, 3.5 compared to 5 before, but concludes that this has nothing whatever to do with the loss of Cespedes and that it has been an overall team slump and that there is no reason to think that the loss of Cespedes had anything to do with that.

 

By his logic the As needed the 7 wins Lester has contributed to, more than the offensive presence Cespedes gave them.  Here is where i cannot agree.

 

Yes, Lester has been a factor in 7 wins, but are we to assume that those he replaced would have lost them all?  The As staff had all year been rock solid, i have to think that at best he may have given them 1-2 wins more than whoever he replaced at most over that span. 

Plus as all know that the loss of Cespedes defensively directly cost the A's at least 1 game due to not having his defense in the field against us that in all likelihood we would not have won if he was there not even counting his offense.   That alone almost negates the added value of the added wins Lester gave them.

 

Factor in those things that the statheads seem to ignore.. how the game is really played, who pitchers pitch around, work around or go after in lineups, and losing Cespedes really exposed a lot of the A's players without having the protection he provided them. 

 

It comes down to a simple occam's razor argument... what is more likely, that a team full of talented players all slumped at the same time for no apparent reason, or that the loss of a key piece of that puzzle affected them more than can be shown on a scorecard?  

 

For me i think losing Cespedes affected that team in a way that goes far beyond any measurable statistic.  The only other possibility is pure chance, which i guess is also possible, but when you can track it all back to that singular event, its hard to argue coincidence.

A player doenst have to be a superstar to be part of what makes a team tick, we angel fans should know this from guys like Eckstein, Erstad, et al.  Im not comparing them to Cespedes, just saying, using nothing but stats to say who won or lost that deal seems off the mark considering the results.

At the end of the day its hard not to question the deal knowing that they likely wont have him next year and they certainly didnt get the results they were hoping for form the deal.

I guess well see how it all comes out in the end, but the endless defending of the A's is hard to understand for me.. if anyone else had made this deal and hit the funk they have the GM would have been railed in the media and possibly even fired, but in the case of Beane, hes still getting props.  It makes little sense to me.

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When you look at Cespedes overall numbers, nothing really sticks out as making a difference.bbut he was pretty key when it came to how Oakland scored runs. With RISP this year, he's hitting over .300 and has an OPS of almost .900. It's hard to argue that's not missed in their lineup. I do agree the team itself is slumping, but they had a huge run producer taken out of the lineup as well.

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I hate the A's and I am not a fan of Billy Beane's at all... but that being said - I applaud Beane for "going all in."  Maybe the Cespedes trade will be their downfall, maybe not.  I like the fact that he took a shot and did what he thought would help put the A's in a position to win it all. I understand why he did what he did... I don't think anyone anticipated the huge drop off from Moss and the injury to Crisp, etc., etc.

 

I'm just happy they're not in first place and will have to scratch and claw their way into the post-season.

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I thought they would miss him from the outset. He's definitely impacted the offense as it wasn't a great hitting team with him anyway. 

 

Pitching is obviously important, but I saw no real need to get Lester. They already got Shark and had a good staff. Ultimately, they're fortunate they've pulled themselves together and it looks like they'll make the postseason, but everyone knows you have to score runs to win and Oakland has made themselves look especially vulnerable in that department.

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I completely agree, flop, and I've found this to be a really interesting subject to dissect. Every writer/stat-head (even those I respect, like Jonah Keri) have gone out of their way to point out why it's not the Cespedes deal that has hurt the A's. But they always use black and white numbers for that argument, and completely ignore the human, non-measurable aspects of the game. For me, there's no doubt in my mind that the trade adversely affected that team. Clearly Cespedes was an important piece to the puzzle there.

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I think Kazmir has been figured out.

Gray has been ok, nothing special..but ok. There's a lot worse number 3 starters out there,

Hammel has been fantastic and if they wanted to start Pomeranz in a game, go ahead.

 

The A's still have fantastic pitching, but their offense relies on walks 90% of the time. Hardly any steals and way too many takes on fastballs right down the damn middle of the plate.

 

Their defense can be pretty bad, also.

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Can't ignore the human emotional impact on the players. Not saying it completely supports the idea that the Cespedes trade sunk the offense but here are some quotes taken from various articles since the deadline:

“My mind is blown,” said A’s outfielder Josh Reddick. “I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this. Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would give up Cespy.”

“Cespedes has been a cornerstone of the organization for three years,” shortstop Jed Lowrie said. “So this is a surprise."

“Yoenis was part of the fabric of the team,” Beane said, noting that Gomes has been, too, and he also has terrific leadership qualities. “Losing a guy like that is lessened a little bit when you bring back a guy like Jonny.”

"It was a shock,'' Donaldson says. "We looked at Cespedes as one of the untouchable guys. And when it happened, we're kind of like, 'This is interesting.' It took a while to get a grasp on it. We knew there was nothing we could do about it. We had to man up.''

It should be noted that Lowrie and Reddick qualified their quotes with praise for the acquisition of Jon Lester.

Edited by JeanneusP
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I hate the A's and I am not a fan of Billy Beane's at all... but that being said - I applaud Beane for "going all in."  Maybe the Cespedes trade will be their downfall, maybe not.  I like the fact that he took a shot and did what he thought would help put the A's in a position to win it all. I understand why he did what he did... I don't think anyone anticipated the huge drop off from Moss and the injury to Crisp, etc., etc.

 

I'm just happy they're not in first place and will have to scratch and claw their way into the post-season.

Despite the collapse the trade can turn out to be a winner for them.  The playoffs are built around great pitching.  The A's have that.  They are capable of beating anybody on a given night.  If they end up making the WS this year would anyone say the trade was a disaster for them?

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I completely agree, flop, and I've found this to be a really interesting subject to dissect. Every writer/stat-head (even those I respect, like Jonah Keri) have gone out of their way to point out why it's not the Cespedes deal that has hurt the A's. But they always use black and white numbers for that argument, and completely ignore the human, non-measurable aspects of the game. For me, there's no doubt in my mind that the trade adversely affected that team. Clearly Cespedes was an important piece to the puzzle there.

What stat heads haven't figured out that the game isn't totally about stats.  The stats only tell part of the story. I think the stats are important, but you can't rely on them totally. 

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