SAN DIEGO >> As players and teams waited for Jon Lester to make a decision and start defining the high-end pitching market, baseball’s winter meetings began Monday with Oakland trading another All-Star.
In the first swap of the four-day session, the Athletics sent first baseman-outfielder Brandon Moss to Cleveland for minor league infielder Joey Wendle. That followed Oakland’s trade last month of third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto.
Big-name moves are taking more time to percolate. Traded from Boston to Oakland last summer, Lester was sought by the Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
“Almost any move that’s made has some kind of domino effect, some more pronounced than others,” said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers’ new president of baseball operations. “But obviously when you’re talking about the bigger guys coming off the board, there’s a more pronounced trickle-down effect.”
Lester helped Boston go from worst to first and win the 2013 World Series, and then was part of a purge as Boston again dropped to last in the AL East.
The perennially woeful Cubs got a player back at the less pricey level, agreeing to a $20 million, two-year contract with right-hander Jason Hammel — a pitcher Chicago traded to the A’s last summer. That deal was confirmed to the Associated Press by a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Arizona finalized its $68.5 million, six-year contract with Yasmany Tomas, a 24-year-old Cuban defector who may move from the outfield to third base.
Cleveland obtained the 31-year-old Moss, who hit .234 with 25 homers and 81 RBIs in 2014. He batted .268 with 21 homers in the first half of the season to earn his first All-Star selection, but a nagging hip problem cut into his production in the final months.