It’s three days away from the MLB trade deadline and so obviously comes the speculation of a big trade. None bigger than Jon Lester, the left-handed pitcher who’s shown dominance and durability in every season since 2008. It’s been a buzz over the past two days and if a deal gets done, it’s sure that the Red Sox will receive offense for Lester.
Lester’s minuscule ERA of 2.52 in 21 starts makes him a valuable trade chip. Consider that 13 of those starts resulted in wins. He was a victim of poor run support in all but four of those games that were lost, like all the other Red Sox pitchers this season. Trading Lester for offense makes sense. The problem I have is who is going to be your established ace next season? Lester has proven he can do it throughout time. Buchholz and Lackey haven’t.
I guess the writing was on the wall when the Red Sox dealt Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants and instead of getting offense, they settled for two pitching prospects. Prospects that would give them a better chance of eventually replacing Lester? It’s simple, the more good pitching prospects you have, the better your odds are.
Matt Kemp could destroy Fenway Park, but with injuries to his shoulder and ankle I can’t see why you would want to pay him $108 million that’s left on his contract after this season when he’s 30, but not a healthy Lester because he’s 30? The interest in Kemp seems manufactured by the media because it goes against Boston’s new found philosophy to not pay 30-year olds big contracts.
The always professional Lester says the right things, but if he’s traded some speculate he would just resign in Boston during the winter based on recent comments. Yeah, and maybe after he re-signs, he’ll hitch a ride with Santa back to Boston. If he’s traded, it’s easier for him to take the most money offered to him on the market. As in if he’s traded, the home-town discount will apply to another home-town and replacing him would prove costly:
“Why not? This is what I know, this is what I love and like I’ve said plenty of times, this is where I want to be,” said Lester on a potential trade. “And if they trade me I completely understand. No hard feelings – I know what they have to do for their organization. If that involves me, so be it. If it doesn’t, I’ll keep running out there every five days and pitching. Like I said, hopefully in November we’ll get something done.”
I don’t get why you would want to pay Kemp, who’s dealt with multiple injuries, $21.5 million per season until 2019 when he’s 35 years old. Isn’t the injury history why you let Ellsbury walk? Isn’t the age the reason you gave Lester a slap-in-the-face offer of four years at $80 million? Kemp is a liability on defense so much so that he’s the Mariners back-up plan. Their plan would be to put him at DH. Umm, Kemp or Ortiz? I’ll take Ortiz at 45 when Kemp hasn’t been good since 2012.
I’m all for getting offense. Hell, I’ve been screaming offense since late April. I’m not willing to part with Lester and my feeling is Kemp talks are just a smoke-screen to let teams know the Red Sox are officially selling at this year’s trade deadline. Lester is a good pitcher to have while the prospects make their way to Boston as he can provide professionalism and go out there every five days and show the prospects the way it should be done.
Outfield is a definite need, as is offense, but there’s no need to settle and I don’t believe the Red Sox will. Lester won’t get moved before the deadline, unless the deal is incredible for Boston.