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According to a club source, the Boston Red Sox would consider a trade centered around sending Jon Lester to Los Angeles in exchange for Dodgers’ outfielder Matt Kemp. Outside of your fantasy baseball league, such a trade would seem unlikely, but given the two teams negotiating and the state of each franchise, the deal would actually be extremely fair.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate this trade for both sides. Given the news that Lester will not agree to an extension with the team he is traded to, the Dodgers would be losing one of the best offensive talents in the game at a time when runs have come at a premium, and would only gain Lester for the next few months as they seek a World Series championship. There’s no guarantee that Lester sticks around beyond October.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox would be absorbing a contract that owes Kemp $107 million from 2015-2019 (unless the Dodgers are willing to eat a big portion of the deal). The 29-year old has hit about .270 in each of the last two seasons with subpar defense on the side. This is the exact type of situation the Red Sox escaped from when Los Angeles bailed out Boston by taking on the contracts of both Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
This trade makes the Dodgers a lot better in 2014, and gives the Red Sox an offensive weapon that could become useful as David Ortiz fades, but realistically this isn’t the package Boston wants in exchange for Lester at this time. With the youth movement in full effect, it seems more likely the Sox would target a young player in a team’s system rather than a big name like Kemp.
One name that has been thrown around is Joc Pederson, a 22-year old outfielder in the Dodgers’ organization. However, it may take much more than a rental on Jon Lester to gain the services of Pederson, who Los Angeles sees as a future regular in their outfield.
The Red Sox have plenty of trade chips to play with before the July 31 deadline, and making a push for a player of the caliber of Pederson could be extremely beneficial in the long run. With the set up of the Red Sox farm system, there is little room for Brock Holt to grow at a specific position, but he could be valuable to move alongside Lester. If the Dodgers were willing to trade Pederson for a combination of Lester, Holt, and 39-year old rental Koji Uehara, I think the Red Sox should jump for joy. Forget about dealing Lester for Kemp and focus on dealing Lester for the future.