Jon Lester‘s name has been thrown around lately as a potential trade chip for the Red Sox to dangle in front of teams looking for a starting pitcher. His age, 28, and the fact that he’s under team control through the 2014 season make him a valued commodity, despite the lefty struggling through his worst season in the majors. Many Sox fans are fed up with Lester and Josh Beckett, crying that both or either of the starters be shipped out as quickly as possible. Sorry to disappoint, but that doesn’t appear to be happening, at least with Lester.
Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reports that a major league source states the Red Sox will not trade Jon Lester. Edes also writes that this reinforces the Sox stance on staying focused on contending for a playoff spot.
Despite Lester’s struggles, hanging on to the south paw is the right decision for Ben Cherington and his posse. Not only for the reasons mentioned above but when you stop and think about what his trade value is right now, the Red Sox would be fools to trade him away and get little in return. Both Lester and Beckett are not worth what they once were and while they need to turn it around on the mound to give the Sox any hope of competing for a wild card, no team would give up nearly what the Red Sox would want in return.
We saw first hand what happened with Kevin Youkilis. Cherington was damn near forced to “dump” Youk, just so the deal was done sooner than later. Youk had very little trade value at the time and now the Chicago White Sox are laughing hysterically given the turn around Youk has displayed.
Lester is in a similar boat in that his trade value is likely at an all-time low. Sure there is a shortage of quality starters available to be acquired in the next six days, but would you count Lester in that group of “quality starters” right now given his poor performances? Not likely and it’s probably what the other GM’s are thinking as well.
Also consider if Lester was to be dealt, the Sox won’t get a top three starting pitcher for him. Given that the Sox biggest issue to address at the trade deadline is their starting pitching, moving one of their own doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Unless of course it was part of a package for Felix Hernandez. Anything but would be season suicide, meaning the deal would signify the Red Sox management are throwing in the towel for this season, even though the postseason will remain an extreme challenge as it is.
Like it or not Sox fans, we may be tortured by having to watch Lester every fifth night from now until the end of September. Our only hope is that Bobby Valentine’s little ‘chat’ with Lester is enough to turn things around for the lefty and we see him regain his dominating ways. Ohhh boy, that’s a scary thought to think Bobby V could be held accountable for Lester’s turnaround.