Trading Jon Lester (news and speculation thread)

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glennhoffmania

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Is this something that can be discussed with his representatives before a deal is made?  Ben calls Stewart and says, look we can see Matt rejuvenating his career and hitting bombs over the wall for the next 5 years, but we would use him in LF given the rest of our roster makeup, and we need to know if that will be an issue for him.  Can they have that discussion?
 
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glennhoffmania said:
Is this something that can be discussed with his representatives before a deal is made?  Ben calls Stewart and says, look we can see Matt rejuvenating his career and hitting bombs over the wall for the next 5 years, but we would use him in LF given the rest of our roster makeup, and we need to know if that will be an issue for him.  Can they have that discussion?
I wouldn't think that would be a major issue for Kemp if he is as unhappy there as sources are saying. A change of scenery might be more important to him at this point than what position he'd be playing. That said, I'm not on board with the trade unless LA is absorbing a large portion of that contract.
Edit: and I'm sure GMs always have these types of "feeling out" conversations prior to finalizing a deal.
 

jscola85

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Yaz4Ever said:
I think it's very possible for the old Matt Kemp to come back.  I don't think he gets along with Mattingly and is letting his current role affect his overall performance, but that's completely unscientific on my part.
 
That said, no way would the Sox (or anyone) snag him off waivers.  Getting him for 5 years/$60M or less would be appealing, however.  LAD still needs to add Joc to the deal (or Seager).
 
It's certainly possible.  Just getting out of Dodgers Stadium would likely add ~50-60 points to his OPS.  Then factor in that he's more or less a dead-pull righty and you could argue even a bit more improvement into that playing half his games at Fenway.
 
The question is all about health and defense, neither of which I'm really qualified to assess.  Both Fangraphs and B-Ref absolutely hate his defense over the last few years, and while I don't have access to the Fielding Bible, the link below suggests John Dewan isn't so keen on his fielding chops either:
 
http://www.fieldingbible.com/kemp.asp
 
Maybe you get comfortable that he can live in left at Fenway and not be a liability, but to do that he's going to have to post a wRC+ in the 125 or better range, he's going to have to stop getting caught stealing on the basepaths 50% of the time, and he'll have to play 130+ games a year.  It just seems like far too many things have to go right simultaneously for it to make sense without LAD heavily subsidizing him.  They'd need to throw in something like $40M to entice me; has a team ever thrown in remotely that much?  Even then, you've still got Kemp on the books for 5/$68M after this season, no small investment.
 
EDIT - clarification
 

jscola85

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UnfrozenCavemanGrebeck said:
I wouldn't think that would be a major issue for Kemp if he is as unhappy there as sources are saying. A change of scenery might be more important to him at this point than what position he'd be playing. That said, I'm not on board with the trade unless LA is absorbing a large portion of that contract.
Edit: and I'm sure GMs always have these types of "feeling out" conversations prior to finalizing a deal.
 
I don't think the bolded is true at all.  There's plenty of cases where players have found out they were traded by seeing ESPN, getting a text from Harold Reynolds, having a friend call them hearing on twitter, etc.
 
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jscola85 said:
 
I don't think the bolded is true at all.  There's plenty of cases where players have found out they were traded by seeing ESPN, getting a text from Harold Reynolds, having a friend call them hearing on twitter, etc.
That's true in some cases, but I'd like to believe that Cherrington would be more diligent if he were going to making a deal like this.
 

smastroyin

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You'd be taking a chance.  For one, when players leave their home stadiums, they don't always hit to their road numbers.  In general, Dodger Stadium does not play as much of a pitcher's park as it has traditionally.  Put it this way, it's not ATT or Safeco or PNC or Citi Field (all fields built since Dodger Stadiums heyday as one of the best pitchers parks)
 
Kemp had a slight positive to neutral split up until two years ago.  I don't know that the limited amount he has played the last two years, where he has shown a significant negative split, are that indicative of him breaking out just leaving Chavez Ravine.
 

jscola85

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UnfrozenCavemanGrebeck said:
That's true in some cases, but I'd like to believe that Cherrington would be more diligent if he were going to making a deal like this.
 
That may be the case - just point out that "GMs always do this" is inaccurate.
 

ivanvamp

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I know it is what it is, but I still cannot believe that less than 9 months after winning the freaking world series with him leading the way, we are seriously talking about the Red Sox trading Jon Lester, who is having by far the best season of his career.  
 
It is almost impossible to believe.
 

Drek717

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jscola85 said:
Maybe you get comfortable that he can live in left at Fenway and not be a liability, but to do that he's going to have to post a wRC+ in the 125 or better range, he's going to have to stop getting caught stealing on the basepaths 50% of the time, and he'll have to play 130+ games a year.  It just seems like far too many things have to go right simultaneously for it to make sense without LAD heavily subsidizing him.  They'd need to throw in something like $40M to entice me; has a team ever thrown in remotely that much?  Even then, you've still got Kemp on the books for 5/$68M after this season, no small investment.
 
EDIT - clarification
Or...
 
1. acknowledge that it's LF in Fenway and therefore a defensive anomaly inaccurately tracked by defensive metrics and a place they've hid bad fielders for decades previously, and discard what the metrics say his negative defensive value might be.
 
2. he stops trying to steal even close to as much.  Like a 90% reduction.  Remind him he's here to get on base and get driven in, not steal when Nap/Tiz/Bogaerts/etc. are waiting to drive him in.
 
3. see how the reduced wear and tear of playing Fenway's LF (and some DH probably) does on those legs, plus extra time removed from the real injuries themselves.
 
4. after all that watch and see how much his offense rebounds in Fenway.  Kemp at the plate reminds me a lot of Adrian Beltre.  Like Beltre I think he'd benefit greatly from Fenway Park.
 
Of course, that has to be at the right price point.  To me that's no more than the last 5 years at $70M max, and only if they're sending Seager and Urias both with him.  We bring it down to 5/$50M and I'd be amenable to Seager straight up.  Somewhere in between and they'll need to kick back a lower tier, hopefully really young, prospect.
 

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jscola85 said:
 
It's certainly possible.  Just getting out of Dodgers Stadium would likely add ~50-60 points to his OPS.  Then factor in that he's more or less a dead-pull righty and you could argue even a bit more improvement into that playing half his games at Fenway.
 
The question is all about health and defense, neither of which I'm really qualified to assess.  Both Fangraphs and B-Ref absolutely hate his defense over the last few years, and while I don't have access to the Fielding Bible, the link below suggests John Dewan isn't so keen on his fielding chops either:
 
http://www.fieldingbible.com/kemp.asp
 
Maybe you get comfortable that he can live in left at Fenway and not be a liability, but to do that he's going to have to post a wRC+ in the 125 or better range, he's going to have to stop getting caught stealing on the basepaths 50% of the time, and he'll have to play 130+ games a year.  It just seems like far too many things have to go right simultaneously for it to make sense without LAD heavily subsidizing him.  They'd need to throw in something like $40M to entice me; has a team ever thrown in remotely that much?  Even then, you've still got Kemp on the books for 5/$68M after this season, no small investment.
 
EDIT - clarification
 
Man, do they.  They basically have his defense turning a good hitter into virtually a replacement level player.  I just have a hard time believing that Kemp is the brass ring for Jon Lester.  Maybe I'm overvaluing Lester, but it seems to me that for a team nearly locked into the playoffs, he dramatically increases your odds of winning a championship.  I would think the Dodgers go immediately to near prohibitive favorite.  
 
Let's assume a massive subsidy by the Dodgers.  Would the Red Sox sign Kemp for 5/60 if he were a free agent in the off season?  Yes, I suppose so, if you had a really good take on the reason for such crappy defensive numbers and thought you could control it in your ballpark or with a position change.  That's a very good deal, though three surgeries in two years certainly makes it not off the charts.  It's much better than current free agency seems to dictate, that's for sure for a player of his potential value.  But, so that's it?  That's what we get for Lester?  Saving a few million a year over the next five years in the free agent market over what we'e pay for comparable potential upside WAR?  Not that that's worth sneezing at.  But it's Jon Lester.  I'm sure I'm forgetting an awful lot and people will remind me, but when has a player of this type of value to a playoff bound team been moved at the trading deadline?  I can't remember one.  A no strings attached, proven lefty big game pitcher having a fantastic season who can also field his position.  The guy has a .43 WS ERA.  When does a potential three-WS start type player come on the market?  
 
A team that gets him increases its chances of winning a championship dramatically.  And a somewhat cost-controlled Matt Kemp is the brass ring?  Just doesn't feel right to me.
 

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The other thing to consider with Kemp is that because he has some backloaded money, the Sox can afford to carry him and will pay a lower AAV/ CBT threshold number on his deal than what they actually pay him. Anything kicked in by LA is additional gravy.

If the Sox are more worried about the luxury tax than actual payroll, then players like Kemp are a good way to maximize their resources (but this does require the player to produce at expected levels).
 

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Drek717 said:
1. acknowledge that it's LF in Fenway and therefore a defensive anomaly inaccurately tracked by defensive metrics and a place they've hid bad fielders for decades previously, and discard what the metrics say his negative defensive value might be.
 
Kemp was showing mixed-to-mediocre advanced defensive numbers even before injuries sapped so much of his mobility. In 2011 he stole 40 bases while getting caught just 11 times, and rated about -5 by both DRS and UZR. I've seen a lot of comments to the effect that he misplays and misjudges more than his share of balls, and that will play just as badly (if not worse) in Fenway's LF as in any other.
 
If you want to say that we've won with crappy LF's before, and can do it again, fair enough, but I don't think Fenway inherently reduces the negative impact of a crappy LF. It depends on the precise nature of the crappiness. A guy who has great instincts, coordination and a good arm, but is just feckin' slow, can be a very effective defensive LF in Fenway, while a speedy guy who is bad at those other things may be a worse defensive LF in Fenway than he would be in a more spacious but conventional LF.
 

ivanvamp

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Well, here's the reality.  If the Sox truly are going to be sellers, they have a TON of terrific chips they can use.  Lester, Lackey, even Buchholz probably, Miller, Uehara, even Tazawa if they wanted to deal him.  
 
I am not advocating dealing all these guys, but the degree of interest that is coming the Sox' way certainly puts them in the catbird seat here.  
 

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Would take some huge stones to trade Lester and Lackey, because you would be under the gun this winter to get replacements signed.
 

21st Century Sox

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ivanvamp said:
I know it is what it is, but I still cannot believe that less than 9 months after winning the freaking world series with him leading the way, we are seriously talking about the Red Sox trading Jon Lester, who is having by far the best season of his career.  
 
It is almost impossible to believe.
 
I am squarely in this camp. I still don't believe it is for Kemp/Cash as a centerpiece, but am digesting that this is happening. I hold zero hope for the Sox re-signing Lester in the offseason. I believe he is being dealt as they have already decided to move on.
 
That said, it is stunning. Lester has been fantastic, and though I agree with not paying guys into their late 30's as a rule, I think they could extend Lester through age 36, and I think you need to do it with cornerstone players.
 
I also look at the way contracts have been spiraling upward with the increased revenues....in three years, whatever Lester gets this offseason will likely be a bargain going forward on a per year basis.
 
 
 

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Trade or no trade you have to think Seattle would be willing to overpay to bring Lester home. I think they should trade him but it decreases the odds of ever seeing him in a Sox uniform again.
 

OttoC

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OCD SS said:
The other thing to consider with Kemp is that because he has some backloaded money, the Sox can afford to carry him and will pay a lower AAV/ CBT threshold number on his deal than what they actually pay him. Anything kicked in by LA is additional gravy.

If the Sox are more worried about the luxury tax than actual payroll, then players like Kemp are a good way to maximize their resources (but this does require the player to produce at expected levels).
Luxury tax worries? Make the trade, then place a huge bet on the Dodgers to win it all.
 

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SoxinSeattle said:
Trade or no trade you have to think Seattle would be willing to overpay to bring Lester home. I think they should trade him but it decreases the odds of ever seeing him in a Sox uniform again.
 
I've never heard when he comes up to Seattle for games that he hangs around. Another topic I know, but if there was interest from either side, we'd have heard some rumor by now.
 

ivanvamp

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That would be beautiful.  Trade Lester/WMB for Machado.  Orioles win the division, Lester pitches great in the postseason, but Baltimore gets wiped out by Detroit (actually, I wouldn't even mind Baltimore winning it all, believe it or not).  Then the Sox re-sign Lester, end up with Lester *and* Machado.  :)
 

wibi

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SoxFanInPdx said:
 
I've never heard when he comes up to Seattle for games that he hangs around. Another topic I know, but if there was interest from either side, we'd have heard some rumor by now.
 
Seattle is the only place I would be happy to see Lester go but you are hearing the same things I have heard about him and the area. 
 

glennhoffmania

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OCD SS said:
This is why the Sox never officially picked up Lackey's option for next year at the minimum: it gives them the option to trade him and make that the aquiring club'a problem if Lackey decides to hold out.
I don't see why that would matter. Whoever has him will exercise the option and then decide whether to work on an extension. No one would let him walk for nothing.
 

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Don't hold your breath waiting for the Mariners to make a deal.
 
To hear rival executives tell it, though, Zduriencik mostly has exasperated trade partners with his negotiating style while trying to guide the M’s to the postseason for the first time since 2001. Those executives say the Mariners frequently inquire on a number of players, only to shift direction when a deal appears within reach.
 
 

Doctor G

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ivanvamp said:
Well, here's the reality.  If the Sox truly are going to be sellers, they have a TON of terrific chips they can use.  Lester, Lackey, even Buchholz probably, Miller, Uehara, even Tazawa if they wanted to deal him.  
 
I am not advocating dealing all these guys, but the degree of interest that is coming the Sox' way certainly puts them in the catbird seat here.  
who are we the Florida Marlins?
 

jscola85

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smastroyin said:
You'd be taking a chance.  For one, when players leave their home stadiums, they don't always hit to their road numbers.  In general, Dodger Stadium does not play as much of a pitcher's park as it has traditionally.  Put it this way, it's not ATT or Safeco or PNC or Citi Field (all fields built since Dodger Stadiums heyday as one of the best pitchers parks)
 
Kemp had a slight positive to neutral split up until two years ago.  I don't know that the limited amount he has played the last two years, where he has shown a significant negative split, are that indicative of him breaking out just leaving Chavez Ravine.
 
Dodgers Stadium has been rated 25th, 28th, 25th, 22nd, and 23rd in terms of Park Factor since 2010.  Fenway has been 19th, 20th, 3rd, 3rd, and 7th.  That seems like a pretty cut-and-dried improvement for him, especially factoring in he would be a guy like Millar, Gomes, etc. in the dead-pull righty category who typically gain an added advantage at Fenway.  In LF there's probably close to a 40-50 foot difference at Fenway vs. Dodgers Stadium.
 

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P'tucket said:
We still have the advantage of having a GM who isn't legally insane.
But Ruben will likely screw himself, and the Sox in the process.
 
If I was the Colletti, if the prospect cost were similiar, I'd rather have 4-5 years of Hamels (5/114) , than a Lester rental and then 6-8 years @ $25MM+. PY. 
 

E5 Yaz

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Rudy Pemberton said:
So who starts opening day next year, Buchholz? Steve Avery? Unbelievable.
 
Yes, because even if they were to trade Lester AND Lackey, there's no conceivable way they'll add anyone to the starting rotation between the end of the season and opening day.
 

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Rasputin

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E5 Yaz said:
 
Yes, because even if they were to trade Lester AND Lackey, there's no conceivable way they'll add anyone to the starting rotation between the end of the season and opening day.
 
If they were to trade both Lester and Lackey, one might argue that not bringing in any relatively big name pitchers is the better route to go.
 

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Rasputin said:
 
If they were to trade both Lester and Lackey, one might argue that not bringing in any relatively big name pitchers is the better route to go.
 
true enough. that argument could easily be made.
 

StuckOnYouk

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RE Hamels vs. Lester- Lester has been dominant in the AL and is a good a big game pitcher as there is in baseball, which perhaps the dodgers consider when making a move.
Having Lester as your number two in a series is pretty damn impressive.
 

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StuckOnYouk said:
RE Hamels vs. Lester- Lester has been dominant in the AL and is a good a big game pitcher as there is in baseball, which perhaps the dodgers consider when making a move.
Having Lester as your number two in a series is pretty damn impressive.
 
Lester would arguably be #3 in a Dodger rotation behind Kershaw and Greinke.  Still impressive.
 

Tyrone Biggums

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bankshot1 said:
What's fucking distressing is that 5/110 is seen as too high for Lester.
Who says it is? Maybe this is all posturing to deflect what Lester has been saying in order to get a better return for Boston. The 5/110 not being enough makes zero sense.

On the other hand if they do go young next year and give the minority fan base what they've been clamoring for so long I would see it as a signal that they're selling the team. Seeing what Sterling got for the Clippers would probably make most owners at least think about it. Would the team benefit more with a top flight roster? Usually yes but the brand is what you're buying. When dealing with The Red Sox, Yankees or Cardinals in Major League Baseball you could have a starting 9 of SOSH posters and still make a billion in profit.

Far fetched but it would explain the reluctance to give Lester a reasonable deal.
 

Byrdbrain

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bankshot1 said:
What's fucking distressing is that 5/110 is seen as too high for Lester.
Not sure why you think that. After the fact it was leaked that Lester would have signed for something like that but there is no indication the RedSox knew that. We also have no idea if that leaked statement is even true.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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Not surprising. I'm expecting every report from the puppets at the Globe this week to be overwhelmingly sympathetic to ownership having no choice but to trade Lester.
 

soxhop411

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Tyrone Biggums said:
Who says it is? Maybe this is all posturing to deflect what Lester has been saying in order to get a better return for Boston. The 5/110 not being enough makes zero sense.

On the other hand if they do go young next year and give the minority fan base what they've been clamoring for so long I would see it as a signal that they're selling the team. Seeing what Sterling got for the Clippers would probably make most owners at least think about it. Would the team benefit more with a top flight roster? Usually yes but the brand is what you're buying. When dealing with The Red Sox, Yankees or Cardinals in Major League Baseball you could have a starting 9 of SOSH posters and still make a billion in profit.

Far fetched but it would explain the reluctance to give Lester a reasonable deal.
I highly doubt this means the team is for sale. Would they really sell a year after winning the WS?
 

Tyrone Biggums

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soxhop411 said:
I highly doubt this means the team is for sale. Would they really sell a year after winning the WS?
Again I mentioned it was far fetched but it doesn't matter when you sell a crown jewel team. When it's on the market you'll get top dollar. The Dodgers got 2 billion dollars. I would expect the Sox to go for 1.5 at least. The only value hurting them is that Jacobs owns the concessions and I believe most of NESN. Liquidating the assets and going cheap is usually a sign that a business is for sale.

But I think this team is still committed to fielding a contender every year...
 
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