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Jon Lester scratched Wednesday amid trade speculation

Jul 29, 2014, 10:50 PM EDT

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan wrote Tuesday afternoon that “sentiment among competing executives is unanimous” that the Red Sox will trade left-hander Jon Lester before Thursday’s July 31 deadline.

And this news will only add to that thought.

Tim Britton of the Providence Journal reports that Lester has been scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday night against the Blue Jays, with right-hander Brandon Workman getting the call from Triple-A Pawtucket to take his rotation spot.

The Pirates, Dodgers, Brewers, Blue Jays, Cardinals, and Orioles are all thought to have interest in acquiring Lester, who can become a free agent after this season. He boasts a 2.52 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and 149/32 K/BB ratio through 143 innings in 2014.

  1. bigharold - Jul 29, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Let the RS rebuild decade begin in earnest, .. albeit a year later than originally thought, .. so the Nation has 2013 anyway.

    • pastabelly - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:15 PM

      Letting one of the best left handlers in the game go isn’t as much rebuilding as it is being cheap and foolish. This is not how a big market team should behave. I’m insulted and disgusted as a a Sox fan. They think that they are so freaking smart replacing Ellsbury with Bradley and Lester with unproven players. Other teams must be laughing at them.

      • bigharold - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:26 PM

        If Lester goes to FA and the RS lose him, that’s one thing. And you’re correct, the RS would be “cheap and foolish”. But, trading him is essentially throwing in the towel for this year AND beginning of the rebuilding process. And. there is no logical explanation otherwise. What, is Buchholz going to anchor the rotation next year? Good luck with that.

        Lester goes, .. it’ll be a COMPLETE rebuilding plan. Anyone that doesn’t see that is kidding themselves.

      • dan1111 - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:23 AM

        Given that:

        1) Lester already made it clear that he was going to go to free agency.

        2) He stated he would still be willing to sign with the Red Sox even if traded.

        It’s not clear that trading him would change things in any way–except that the Sox get some prospects and he gets the chance to participate in a playoff stretch run. It seems like a win-win.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:19 PM

      I’d rather be in the Red Sox position than the Yankees position.

      It’s much easier to rebuild when you don’t owe $50,000,000 – $100,000,000 a year to guys who can’t play.

      Hopefully they actually have confidence in their farm system (and their scouting department has more hits than misses) and make smart Free Agent decisions. Like not paying a 30 year old oft-injured CF as though his one career season is what can be expected of him, despite him never coming close to those numbers before or since even when he COULD stay on the field.

      Ellsbury may be having a decent season, but he’s still not earning $20,000,000.

      • slappymcknucklepunch - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:32 PM

        I more or less agree. I also think that the sox
        will resign Lester this off – season. The price of Lester will be cheaper for Boston than any team that tried to sign him later.

      • uyf1950 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:34 PM

        There is always the alternative for the Red Sox to pay a 33 year old Right Fielder who hasn’t been able to stay on the field this year. As for having confidence in the farm system of the Red Sox hows that worked out for the Red Sox this year with those players they brought up.

      • bigharold - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:41 PM

        “I’d rather be in the Red Sox position than the Yankees position.”

        Yeah, except the RS, if Lester goes have no ace. Basically they have no rotation. Hell, the Yankees have three better pitchers than Buchholz on the DL right now that should be perfectly healthy next season. And, despite all the carnage with Yankees rotation this season the replacements are better than the RS starters right now. So how do you figure the RS farm system will do better next season than what the Yankees are doing today?

        You like the RS chances better than the Yankees? Good, cause that’s all they have but that that doesn’t change the FACT that with all their best pitcher looks to be on his way out the door and they haven’t a replacement for him. Not this season nor next and, to a large extent, because the RS owners are cheapskates. If they are a true big market team, .. and they are, .. then they are selling the fans short.

        Good luck with the rebuilding program.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:13 AM

        @bigharold Are you suggesting that it’s better to hit the free agent market paying #1 salaries to two pitchers, one who may be facing a TJ surgery and the other who is all but completely done than it is to have no ace pitchers but also no salary commitments?

        Come the hot stove it’s very likely the Red Sox and Yankees have the same number of top-of-the-rotation starters while the Sox have $0 committed and the Yankees have $45,000,000 invested in having nothing. And that’s not counting overpaying Ellsbury, who-knows-what from Tex and his $25,000,000….$30,000,000 to A-Rod…

      • Bob Loblaw - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:22 AM

        Who cares about the 4th and 5th best teams in the division? ;)

  2. tfbuckfutter - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:16 PM

    Way things are going he was probably scratched because he need TJ.

  3. twalton95 - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:22 PM

    As a Boston fan im happy to see Lester is moving on. Someone has to tell the terrible Red Sox ownership that you cannot get an ace for less than $20mil. Thanks Lucchino you really messed this one up.

    • yette1 - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:14 AM

      I dont understand why the Sox insulted Lester with that pitiful contract extension in the Spring. The guy is coming off a World Series, he’s been resilient, competes and wants to be in Boston.

      I get the stats on 30+ year old pitchers, why not offer him bigger dollars $22/Yr for a shorter term and lock him up for a few more years? Instead your looking at a 2015 RS staff that needs a NR 1, 3 and 4, and Lackey might not be back either. Doesnt make sense.

      • dan1111 - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:29 AM

        @walton and @yet, at the beginning of this season, Lester was coming off a bad 2012 and a solid, but still well below his career norms, 2013. It is easy to forget that due to their playoff run, but for much of 2013 Lester was seriously struggling.

        Obviously, his excellent performance this year has confirmed that he can still pitch like an ace, but that wasn’t clear at the time. The Sox’ contract offer seems reasonable to me.

  4. toodrunktotastethischicken - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:25 PM

    Just because I’m still getting over the whiskey hangover from last night, I’m gonna put an absurd theory out there. Maybe, just maybe the ‘Sawx and Lester have a handshake agreement in place that they unload him for some top prospects now to help for the future. And in turn, at seasons end they give Mr. Lester a nice and shiny $100M + contract for his good deed?

    • slappymcknucklepunch - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:34 PM

      You sir, are not that drunk.
      I also believe that.

    • bigharold - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:52 PM

      “‘Sawx and Lester have a handshake agreement.. ”

      Sounds like wishful thinking. What happens if another team offers 10-15 million more? What happens on the field and to an extent in the clubhouse is baseball, .. the rest is business.

      • toodrunktotastethischicken - Jul 29, 2014 at 11:56 PM

        I understand that completely, but like I said it’s just an absurd theory. Maybe both parties realize barring a miracle the rest of a season is a wash. And with that, Lester gets a chance at another ring and help the Sawx add a stud prospect or two. In return gets the “fair market value” contract he wants from Boston since he has said all along that is what he knows and where he wants to be. But who the hell knows, either way the next 40 hours will be interesting none the less.

    • dan1111 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:14 AM

      It would be perfectly plausible for the two sides to agree that they hoped Lester would return to the Sox after this season, despite a trade. I would not be surprised at all if this has happened.

      However, a handshake agreement on a specific deal is not plausible. Lester would not want to prematurely give up all of his leverage in contract negotiations. The Sox would surely not honor such a deal if Lester got injured or imploded after the trade. A not-actually-binding agreement has little upside and lots of downside.

  5. Fantasy Football Consultant - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    Welcome to LaLa Land

    • sabatimus - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:03 AM

      You mean the land where Ray Rice gets 2 games? Gotcha.

  6. 1998yanks - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    Only the Red Sox could go from last place, to world champs, to last place in 3 yrs.

  7. wilmyers09 - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    toodrunktotastethischicken 100 million he deserves way more then that lol

  8. tjvalley - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:26 AM

    How can Red Sox fans be so upset when they won the World Series one year before? The management obviously knows what they are doing. It wouldn’t surprise me if they won again in five years.

    • dan1111 - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:16 AM

      I ain’t upset. Trading Lester is a great move, in my opinion. This season is a bummer, but the Sox have a bright future.

  9. mungman69 - Jul 30, 2014 at 5:51 AM

    If you have an itch then scratch it.

  10. Eutaw's Finest - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:37 AM

    Just a note: hearing Jays and Orioles are out of the running, and it’s down to Pirates and Dodgers.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 30, 2014 at 6:44 AM

      The Jays were never in the running. That story probably started in Boston as a way to amp up the bidding.

    • 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      Who are you? Where did you hear this?

  11. corvetteman6 - Jul 30, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    Let’s take this from the Pirates’ perspective. I like Lester, especially if you have him for an entire season over a three year contract or so. But what sense does this move make, really? How many starts is Lester going to make between here and the playoffs? 6 or 7 perhaps? Then the guy is going to bolt in free agency.
    If the meantime, you’re going to give Boston top flight prospects who will likely be daily contributors quite soon.
    Meanwhile, the Bucs don’t have a first baseman and have a zombie playing third.
    Again, I like Lester, but this deal does not make sense.

  12. sabatimus - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:05 AM

    If both parties truly have an arrangement where Lester comes back after being a rental for another team, then great. But I’d prefer they traded Buchholz. He has times of utter brillance, times of abject garbage, and seems to get hurt a lot. I wonder what the Sox would get for him.

    • nbjays - Jul 30, 2014 at 8:27 AM

      A bag of batting practice balls and not much else.

    • aceshigh11 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:09 AM

      Buchholz has been exposed and lost much, if not ALL, of his value.

      The guy can’t stay healthy and he’s mentally fragile. His moments of fleeting brilliance don’t balance out those two knocks against him.

      • sabatimus - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:30 AM

        That’s pretty much my take too, unfortunately.

    • jfk69 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:45 AM

      AJ Burnett

  13. aceshigh11 - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    I’ve loved watching this guy pitch ever since he closed out the World Series in 2007. He’s got a compelling personal story, is a cancer survivor, and he and Francona almost had a father/son relationship. It was just great watching him mature during that time period.

    You can’t live in the past, but I really don’t want to see him go. The Sox ownership botched this one. Yeah, he’s going to be grossly overpaid towards the tail end of his career. That’s just the way it works nowadays with MLB contracts.

    The ownership and Cherington are not nearly as smart as they think they are. Last year was pure luck…EVERYTHING fell into place for those guys…the whole season was like a magical dream.

    This year shows what actually happens when you try to play it cheap in a big market. All those guys who had unexpected career years last year regressed, they let Ellsbury go, and now they’re sunk.

    And people thinking the Sox and Lester have some crafty plan in place to get prospects and then come back next year…I just don’t believe it. Has that ever actually happened in MLB before? It sounds like a contrived plot out of a bad movie.

  14. 18thstreet - Jul 30, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    I understand the Red Sox’ reluctance to keep players over 30, given the aging curve and the risks. I happen to disagree with it, because I think Lester looks like Andy Pettitte to me, a guy who aged well.

    But I think the Sox’ just don’t want him around for some reason. Their offer of 4 years, $70 million was obviously not sufficient. But if they had offered 4 years, $100 million, that might have have been enough to entice Lester to stay without committing (on the Sox’ part) to too many years.

    But there’s no way he’s coming back. Someone will offer him a Sabathia or a Verlander deal. There’s 11 pitchers earning more than $20 million a year for at least four seasons. Lester is about to become the 12th. The only question is whether the winning team gets him for six years or seven.

  15. insley29 - Jul 30, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    I’m guessing its fun to bash the RS nowadays but I find it interesting how many people are bashing ownership and player transactions these days. How many other teams are flying 3 Series banners since 2004? Teams like the O’s and Rays would love to have the same track record. These are not the Sox from the past and they have been steadfast in not overpaying guys the last couple years. Its fiscally smart if not overly popular. I’m a big Lester fan but not at a crippling price like the Yanks and Dodgers would pay. The Sox have the 3rd best minor league talent in all of the majors according to MLB network so they must be doing something right. Ask the Rays if they would trade any one of their last 10 seasons for just one World Championship. You know the answer. Stop crushing the young guys and let them play for a while you never know they may end up surprising you next year.

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