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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why They Talked Lester for Myers

the Red Sox have discussed the possibility of trading left-hander Jon Lester to the Royals as part of a package that would net outfield megaprospect Wil Myers in return, one of the foremost position playing prospects in all of baseball, and someone who is viewed as big league ready for 2013.

It is a deal that is breathtaking in its conception, and that raises considerable, fundamental questions about the Red Sox and the state of baseball. Could the Sox shed their Opening Day starter and contend? Is a player who hasn’t spent a day in the majors—and who thus would remain under team control for at least six years—more valuable than an established two-time All-Star (albeit one coming off a down year) who is theoretically in his career prime but who has just two years before reaching free agency? Is a potential top-of-the-rotation starter more or less valuable than a potential middle-of-the-lineup force?

The lines of inquiry are fascinating but, for now, theoretical. As Bradford points out, there’s no indication at this time that anything is close to getting done between the two teams. Nonetheless, the questions are sufficiently interesting that it’s worth a more detailed examination.

Speier does his usual excellent job of breaking down why the Sox would do it and why they would not do it.  I think it’s an interesting take on the whole “prospect for established player” idea.

Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 27, 2012 at 02:55 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: hot stove, minor leagues, red sox, royals

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   1. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 27, 2012 at 03:57 PM (#4310777)
If Lester is part of a "package", it makes it much more palatable. But it better be a pretty overwhelming package.
   2. with Glavinesque control and Madduxian poise Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:01 PM (#4310783)
For whatever reason, in a side note, Speier calls Andy Marte an outfielder; he was definitely a 3B in the period during which he was traded twice.
   3. John Northey Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:27 PM (#4310818)
C'mon Blue Jays, sneak in there and steal this deal away from the Red Sox... kick them while their down. :)
   4. Dale Sams Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:34 PM (#4310823)
Sox arn't contending with Lester.
   5. Textbook Editor Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4310831)

Sox arn't contending with Lester.


This was my thought too... we're likely to spend at least 2 years in the wilderness, during which Lester is a (somewhat) expensive luxury... If that can get turned into 6 years of a cost-controlled, no-doubt CF star*, you have to really consider that, since I'm 97% certain Ellsbury's gone, gone, gone after 2013.

*I have no idea if Myers is this person or not.
   6. RJ in TO Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:40 PM (#4310832)
What is the current projected Red Sox rotation?
   7. JJ1986 Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:44 PM (#4310839)
What is the current projected Red Sox rotation?


Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey, someone else.
   8. SG Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4310848)
Franklin Morales, no?
   9. jmurph Posted: November 27, 2012 at 04:51 PM (#4310849)
Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey, someone else.


I continue to maintain it should be Lester/Buccholz/Anibal Sanchez/Edwin Jackson/Doubront or Lackey. But I'm sure they'll decide it's more important to spent 10 million a year on Cody Ross than 15 million per year on one of those guys.
   10. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:04 PM (#4310873)
The perception in Red Sox Nation about Lester has been a complicated one for most of his career:

1) On one hand, his personal narrative (cancer survivor) and youthful appearance, plus the fact he's often been extremely good, has made him a well-liked member of the team by the fans. On the other hand, there has generally been a belief that he should be better than he's been - that whereas he's been a very good #2 starter for much of his career, that we've been waiting for a #1 starter, CC Sabathia, Verlander, Hernandez kind of guy, and he's never been that. It may not be fair, but there is a little bit of "unfulfilled potential" people feel with him, which makes trading him a little more palatable in Red Sox Nation that you might expect.

2) As for the likability thing, he has been perceived as part of the fried chicken-in-the-clubhouse brigade, and with that have come a couple of pieces of baggage. First, that he is a weak personality, blindly following the "leadership" of people like Beckett and Lackey. Second, that he may not be as much of fitness nut as we thought, and that this might be why he has underperformed relative to the expectations people have for him.

3) Entering 2012, there were still expectations that the Sox might be very good, despite the problems of 2011. Nobody thinks that entering 2013. Because of that, I think a large percentage of Red Sox Nation is very content to see the team rebuild, and are cool with missing the playoffs for the next year or two if it means building the next great team. Jon Lester will almost certainly be gone after 2014...so what's the point? Take his $12 million average annual salary over the next two years, and use it towards players who will be here after 2014...
   11. Nasty Nate Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:07 PM (#4310878)
Franklin Morales, no?


The most likely source of the "someone else" is outside the organization.

But internal guys who could get starts also include De La Rosa and Webster.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:15 PM (#4310883)
Yeah, Morales is ticketed for a swingman role. The Sox will acquire another starting pitcher by trade or free agency to fill the rotation.
   13. SG Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:21 PM (#4310891)
I thought Morales looked pretty good as a starter, swingman seems like a waste. Maybe they don't think he can hold up for a full year?
   14. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:25 PM (#4310896)
I don't think it's a correct assumption that Lester is gone after 2014 nor do I think it's correct to assume the Sox can't contend (particularly in 2014). They have the financial means to retain Lester if it makes sense to do so and he has a proven ability to be a top of the rotation starter. If he and Buchholz pitch to their ability that fixes a lot of what ailed the Sox in 2012.

Having said that I'm not optimistic at the moment. I don't think Cherington is the guy to make the moves but I don't think the club should be operating under the expectation that contending in 2014 is an impossibility.
   15. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:39 PM (#4310916)
I'm sure people have noticed this:

1: Lester's K rate has declined 3 straight years
2: Lester's ERA+ has declined 4 straight years

just to stir up the pot- Niese is younger and had both better peripherals and results in 2012... (of course Lester had been far more valuable prior to 2012)

If Lester and Niese were hitters I say PSHAW, Lester is a better hitter, 1 down year doesn't mean that a hitter's talent level has changed dramatically... but these guys are not hitters, they are pitchers, as someone else said EVERY pitcher's worst case scenario is that they never throw another pitch* - Lester WAS an elite pitcher, Niese likely will never be an elite pitcher- but if you are the Royals, who cares, Lester may not be any better than Niese moving forward...

This isn't really an argument that the Royals trade Myers for Niese- it's an argument against trading him for Lester- against trading him for anyone who is not/ was not a top line pitcher in 2012.

*I disagree a pitcher's worst case scenario is not never pitching again, I had Jose Lima, 21-8, 3.58 on my Roto team in 1999,- a worst case scenario is something like Lima 2000- 6.65 ERA in nearly 200 IP)
   16. Golfing Great Mitch Cumstein Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:42 PM (#4310920)
Why would the Royals do this? None of the articles discuss this. I don't see how Lester or Shields put them into contention in the two years left on their contracts.
   17. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:52 PM (#4310931)
Why can't the Royals ever develop guys like Zach Greinke?
   18. SG Posted: November 27, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4310937)
This isn't really an argument that the Royals trade Myers for Niese- it's an argument against trading him for Lester- against trading him for anyone who is not/ was not a top line pitcher in 2012.


Yeah, it's not like the Royals are a Lester or Niese away from contending, and it's not like Myers wouldn't fill a gaping hole in RF, at least it was a gaping hole in 2012.

The last thing the Royals should be doing is trading Myers IMO. They should be trying to sign people like Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson instead.
   19. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:01 PM (#4310943)
I thought Morales looked pretty good as a starter, swingman seems like a waste
I thought Morales looked very good his first time through the order, pretty good his second time through, and it got ugly after that. He doesn't have the secondary pitches to start, in my opinion, and it looked like he wore down quickly from throwing 95 mph heat over and over.

Now, maybe Morales needed an offseason of conditioning and preparation to stretch out for starting. But I wouldn't count on him based on what I saw last summer.
   20. Nasty Nate Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:02 PM (#4310945)
Why would the Royals do this? None of the articles discuss this. I don't see how Lester or Shields put them into contention in the two years left on their contracts.


The idea of trading Myers for a SP was reported in a Jeff Passan article. The reasoning would be that they are in some sort of "win now" mode.
   21. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:07 PM (#4310950)
The best theory I've seen is that Moore has a short leash from the KC ownership, and so he's going to try to make a run to save his job.

Or it could be a whole lot of talk. I mean, there is a package that would make trading Wil Myers a good idea. It's not ipso facto unreasonable.
   22. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:08 PM (#4310952)
I wonder if the Royals would be better off trading Myers for two Niese types than one Jarrod Parker type. Given the state of their rotation, a couple of inexpensive averagish starters might get them closer to contention than one guy with a 130 ERA+. Plus it spreads out the risk.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:10 PM (#4310954)

Why would the Royals do this? None of the articles discuss this. I don't see how Lester or Shields put them into contention in the two years left on their contracts.


It would give them a chance for a .500 season, thus saving their GMs job.

Why can't the Royals ever develop guys like Zach Greinke?


I don't know. I mean, poor Dayton Moore was left with a completely bare cupboard, inheriting bums like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Zack Greinke. I don't know why we should expect him to turn things around in less than seven years.
   24. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:24 PM (#4310962)
Maybe Milone and Griffin for Myers? I don't think either of those guys has a ton of upside, but they would go a long way towards stabilizing the Royals' rotation, and the A's would get more offense.
   25. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: November 27, 2012 at 06:30 PM (#4310971)
Could the Sox shed their Opening Day starter and contend?

Well sure, they can contend for 4th! again in the East. The Sox need all the SP help they can get.
If this is the rotation starting in April...Lester, Buchholz, Doubront, Lackey, someone else...then it's an 80 win team.

if the rotation looks more like this...Lester/Buccholz/Anibal Sanchez/Edwin Jackson/Doubront or Lackey, then it's much closer to a 90 win team.

Unless the Sox are concerned about something specific with Lester, they would be selling very low here. I think Lester will have a very good bounce back year this year. I think throwing to Ross and possibly Napoli will make a difference.
   26. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 27, 2012 at 07:02 PM (#4310995)
Why would the Royals do this? None of the articles discuss this.


Would it be to the increased benefit of teams like the Royals (i.e. teams that routinely have high draft picks as a result of long-term losing at the major league level) if, rather than trying to trade a high-ceiling prospect, they were simply allowed to sell the player and his years of team control outright? In other words, could the Royals better set themselves up to contend if, instead of trying to find comparable talent in trade, they received less desirable talent and truly significant cash (i.e. not the "between the couch cushions" sort of cash the league currently allows without Budshovik approval) to be used to sign free agents?

Hypothetical, but let's kick around an idea or two. The Royals want to improve their starting rotation: Myers to the Mets for Niese and $30 million, the money used to acquire Annibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson or Ryan Dempster (again, all hand-waving here, I know my trade proposal sucks).

Wouldn't that provide more use to the franchise on-field than trying to line up just the right amount of value in talent? Would a 2013 Royals team with Niese plus one of the better free-agent starters provide more hope than a Royals team with John Lester and a few spare parts?
   27. Darren Posted: November 27, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4311014)
I'll tell you this: there's no way the Red Sox trade Lester as part of a package for a prospect. It just doesn't work that way.

You may see Lester+ for Myers+, but no way is there going to be a trade where a #1 starter is dealt with others for someone who hasn't played Major League ball.
   28. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 27, 2012 at 07:42 PM (#4311016)
The Royals want to improve their starting rotation: Myers to the Mets for Niese and $30 million, the money used to acquire Annibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson or Ryan Dempster (again, all hand-waving here, I know my trade proposal sucks).


I dunno, Myers to the Mets for Niese + 30 million might actually make sense to Glass, there's no way in hell the Wilpons could afford it though.
   29. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: November 27, 2012 at 08:24 PM (#4311042)
I don't know. I mean, poor Dayton Moore was left with a completely bare cupboard, inheriting bums like Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, and Zack Greinke. I don't know why we should expect him to turn things around in less than seven years.


6/8/06
To be fair, this is essentially the starting team he inherited:
John Buck
Doug Mientkiewicz*
Mark Grudzielanek
Angel Berroa
Mark Teahen*
Emil Brown
Joey Gathright*
Reggie Sanders
Mike Sweeney
David DeJesus*

Of that list the only one I'd say had anything more than fungible value was DeJesus... and in 2010 Moore traded him for complete crap...
Shortly after taking over he picked up Keppinger for Gotay, Keppinger has had some value, but the Royals never realized any of it, dumping Keppinger a year later for nothing

Pitching, he inherited loads of crap, Affeldt had some ability but the Royals before Moore inexplicably failed to see that his value was gonna be as a reliever and not a starter - Moore traded him for Ryan Shealy who faked being useful for 1/2 a year once.
He traded for Ross Gload and made him a starter for a couple years

He overpaid for Gil Meche, who then actually pitched well for 2 years before cliffing

He picked up Joakim Soria in the rule 5 draft- I will now damn Moore with faint praise- possibly best move he's ever made
sure he's made some good draft picks- but the Royals have been drafting very high- all he had to do to have good drafts was not actively screw up like the Littlefield Pirates

He inherited Gordon and Butler and Greinke
his regime has been as complete a failure at drafting and developing pitchers as team can be, but he did draft and develop Hosmer and Moose tacos and now Myers is almost ready, and Giavotella and Escobar could be useful bit parts I suppose, and I've been saying that Perez is a complete fluke, but I've been wrong before too

The Royals are in better shape than in 2006, but I really wouldn't say they are in GOOD shape, they're in decent shape, but he's been there over 6 years now, and his track record at everything other than drafting and developing position players has been downright abysmal





   30. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: November 27, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4311050)
I dunno, Myers to the Mets for Niese + 30 million might actually make sense to Glass, there's no way in hell the Wilpons could afford it though.


Really now, did I not include enough caveats?
   31. villageidiom Posted: November 27, 2012 at 11:37 PM (#4311121)
The last thing the Royals should be doing is trading Myers IMO. They should be trying to sign people like Anibal Sanchez or Edwin Jackson instead.
What if they can't attract free agents because they don't have a #1 starter? The Royals' offense is OK, but their starting pitching sucks for the foreseeable future.

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