The Boston Red Sox have announced that Jon Lester is being pulled from his Wednesday start against the Toronto Blue Jays in favor of Brandon Workman.
Whereas Lester has been the model for consistency and reliability, the news of his missed start adds more credence to the notion that Boston is nearing a trade of their left-handed acetone Friday’s trade deadline. For the season, the All Star Lester has compiled a 10-7 record with a 2.52 earned run average. His dominance on such an underperforming team has made Lester a hot commodity for any contending teams. Unfortunately for Boston fans, the Red Sox are not among the contenders in 2014.
With both sides reaching a stalemate throughout the season, the Red Sox inability to sign their most accomplished pitcher who is performing at an elite level increases the team’s interest in fielding offers for his services over the balance of the season. Despite starting the post All Star break on a positive note, the team’s recent slide precipitated a weekend trade of veteran right handed starter Jake Peavy to San Francisco. In addition to Lester’s availability, Boston has fielded inquiries for left-handed reliever Andrew Miller as well as third baseman Will Middlebrooks. While those trades are not imminent, the Sox will likely be very active in trade discussions over the next few days.
After recently stating that a trade would have no impact on his off-season free agent destination, Lester has all but given his only professional team permission to leverage his talent to improve the roster beyond 2014. Mired 9.5 games out of a wild card, the Red Sox are in a rare position of being sellers less than ones season after winning the World Series last October.
The 2014 Red Sox have seemed incapable of stringing together successful baseball this season; with a shaky offense the main culprit. If trading Lester would bring in offensive reinforcements for 2015 and beyond, I would fully support it. The most notable player rumored to be on the Sox radar is Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp. A one-for-one trade for Lester would make little sense, but through the inclusion of young prospects or talent from a a third team would make such a swap feasible.
Knowing Jon Lester’s has continued to express his desire to remain in Boston and that a trade would not effect that position makes a deal a low risk proposition. Since both Lester and the Sox front office have tabled contract talks till after the season means his departure in the coming days would be potentially a short-term proposition. For that reason along with the roster talent deficiencies make such a possible deal a smart move for the long-term best interest in the Sox franchise.