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Athletics, GM Billy Beane start the day with a bang

CLEVELAND – Deadline day has started with a bang.

There have been rumblings all week that Athletics general manager Billy Beane was not done, and boy was he not. Beane swept in and made his second blockbuster deal of the trade season, acquiring Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes from the Red Sox in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes. He then flipped Tommy Milone for Sam Fuld for good measure. I think it is safe to say his day is done, but who knows.

A big reminder here – two, actually: The Mariners do not need to make deals to compete with the A’s right now. They need to make a deal that will help them compete for the second wild-card spot. That is their reality. They have been playing all along to get to that one-game playoff, and as spectacular as Oakland’s moves have been, the A’s are playing for something else because they have been in position to play for something else. It’s not the A’s against the M’s here. The Mariners need to do something that will help them score more than two runs a game. That should be their focus if they have any hopes of playing past September.

All that said, wow. Back to the second reminder: Have you noticed anything about all of these big deals we have seen? They have been for pitching. That big bat, Cespedes aside (more on that below), has not been moved and does not appear to be available. The help that Oakland needed was. And the A’s pretty much got all of it.

It was assumed and had been reported that the Red Sox were looking for top prospects in exchange for Lester, yet what they got was a bigger bat with one year remaining on his contract. Were they settling for Cespedes because they did not get the prospect offers they had hoped for in exchange for a two-month rental? Or did they target him because they plan to reload and go for it next year?

The Red Sox had needs in the outfield similar to the Mariners, so that is possible. There is also the possibility that they are still seeking prospects and would entertain offers for Cespedes. If that is the case, the Mariners most likely would be interested. Something to watch for.

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