Former A's outfielder Yoenis Cespedes says he was caught off-guard by the July 31 trade that sent him to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for pitcher Jon Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes.
"I thought there was a good chance I'd be traded, but I thought it would happen sometime next year, maybe June or July," Cespedes said in an interview with MLB.com's Jane Lee, through interpreter Adrian Lorenzo. "But I definitely didn't expect it at this point."
Cespedes woke early the morning of July 31, the day of the non-waiver trade deadline, planning to take advantage of an A's off-day with a trip to a water park with his family. At about 7 a.m. he received a text message from a New York reporter informing him he had been traded to Boston.
Cespedes thought it was just a rumor. Twitter suggested otherwise.
"But I didn't know," Cespedes said, "so I reached out to my agent, and that's when I confirmed I had been traded. I heard from the A's later that day. (Assistant general manager) David Forst talked me through what happened and thanked me for everything."
A's general manager Billy Beane, who earlier in July had acquired pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel, decided he needed more. In order to get Lester, Beane agreed to part with Cespedes.
Cespedes had been a valuable member of the A's since he signed before the 2012 season. Oakland was 65-35 with him in the starting lineup this year and 228-131 in his 21/2 seasons with the team. He was an All-Star this season, won the All-Star home run derby twice in succession and is a .350 hitter in 10 postseason games.
Since joining the Red Sox, he is hitting just .219 but has three home runs and 12 RBIs in 15 games.
Cespedes received phone calls from A's teammates Sean Doolittle, Scott Kazmir, Fernando Abad and Alberto Callaspo on the day of the trade, and Ryan Cook came to his house just before midnight for one final chat as teammates.
"My initial reaction was that I almost wanted to cry," Cespedes said. "I didn't end up crying, but as the day progressed and I started to think about it a little more, I thought of the saying, 'God knows why things happened,' and this is probably for the best."
Cespedes had let it be known in February that he hoped to sign an extension with the A's. His four-year, $36 million deal expires after the 2015 season. But realistically, the A's were likely to deal him this offseason.
"Oakland being the team that gave me my first opportunity in the major leagues," Cespedes said, "I obviously liked the idea of being able to start with a team and finish my career with that team, but that's not the way it worked out, so here we are."
Cespedes said he will miss "everything" about Oakland, "from the guys in the clubhouse to the coaching staff to the fans, who always treated me extraordinary, to the friends I made there."
He counts the final day of the 2012 season, when the A's completed a sweep of the Texas Rangers to claim the American League West title, as his favorite memory in green and gold.
"I don't hold any hard feelings or resentment toward them," Cespedes said. "Apart from the game being fun, it's also a business, and I understand that side of it, so I don't harbor any negative feelings toward them. On the contrary, I wish them nothing but the best. I hope that they keep fighting, and I hope they win the World Series.
" ... I just want to say thank you to everybody over there."
MLB.com contributed to this report.