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The hot stove offseason is in full swing, and with it comes plenty of rumors surrounding our beloved Red Sox. The latest rumor was the idea of shipping Jon Lester to the Kansas City Royals for their top prospect, outfielder Wil Myers. The two sides apparently had brief conversations about sending Myers to Boston for Lester, as well as a deal that would send additional pitching help to Boston and outfield help to Kansas City. Neither of these potential deals are even remotely close to happening, but the fact that they were even discussed allows us to weigh in.
The best advice I could give the Red Sox in this particular case is “Don’t make this trade!” I understand Lester had his worst season as a professional in 2012, but I am not ready to give up on the lefty just yet. A main reason why it’s foolish to give up on Lester is that everyone on this Red Sox team had a down year in 2012 in one way or another. The 9-14 record, 4.82 ERA, and career highs in hits and home runs allowed (216 and 25 respectively) doesn’t exactly make Boston fans salivate at what’s to come in 2013. However the main need for this Red Sox team is starting pitching.
I’ve looked at baseball with the philosophy that when you think you have enough pitching, you go out and get more. These Red Sox surely don’t have enough pitching, therefore trading one of their few starting pitchers for an outfield prospect simply doesn’t make sense.
I can give you a huge example of why trading starting pitching for outfielders is a terrible idea. In 2006 the Red Sox traded Arroyo and cash to the Reds for outfielder Wily Mo Pena. They had hopes of turning Pena into a right handed David Ortiz, and felt that they had enough pitching on the roster to make Arroyo expendable. Need I remind you Arroyo was one of the more versatile pitchers on the roster, and had shown the ability to be a reliable starter as well as come out of the bullpen. Pena had a few moonshots that wowed fans of Boston, but he had a gross inability to hit the curve ball. He battled numerous injuries and was released. He never really bounced back in the majors, while Arroyo is still pitching decently out in Cincinnati.
Sure it’s tough to compare Myers to Pena, as Myers is looked at as one of the top prospects in all of Baseball, while Pena was nothing more than a below average hitter with a lot of pop. The reason I bring this up is because Lester is a much better pitcher than Arroyo, and trading him will surely come back to bite the Red Sox. Myers may be the next Mike Trout for all we know, but he also might become a Wily Mo Pena.
Lastly the Red Sox don’t need additional outfield help. They have Jackie Bradley Jr. waiting in the wings in their farm system. They also have a pretty good center fielder who deserves a contract extension. You may have heard of him, his name is Jacoby Ellsbury. If they really want to help their outfield they will re-sign Cody Ross, as he clearly fit in well with the team in a year where it should have been impossible to fit in.
I’m sure Myers will be a great talent for years to come, and it would be great to have him in a Red Sox uniform. The price of Lester is simply too much. I think last year was a very off year for Jon, and I fully expect him to rebound in 2013.