|Devil in the details: Contract possibilities for Jon Lester and the Red Sox||11.19.14 at 2:52 pm ET|
The Red Sox have made no secret of their desire to make a push for Jon Lester, a notion that has gained further credence with the reports (the first one of which came from ESPNBoston.com) that the team has made an offer to the left-hander.
But, of course, it is one thing to make an offer, another to find common ground to satisfy Lester’s interest in a salary befitting his status as an elite pitcher and the Sox’ interests in accounting for the risks associated with a long-term deal for a pitcher in his 30s. In the absence of concrete details about what shape that offer has taken, here are a few potential models and/or features of an offer that the Sox may try to incorporate as they attempt to reacquire an elite pitcher while minimizing the risk on the back end of the deal:
Model 1: Cliff Lee (fewer years, more dollars)
In the 2012-13 offseason, the Red Sox proved aggressive in terms of the average annual value they put on the table while trying to limit the number of years they committed to players. In doing so, they got (for instance) Shane Victorino to pass on a four-year deal worth roughly $11 million a year from the Indians in favor of a three-year, $39 million deal to come to Boston.
In the winter following the 2010 season, left-hander Cliff Lee walked away from potential deals of six-plus years (with offers typically rumored to be for $23 million or so per year) in favor of a five-year, $120 million deal ($24 million per year) with the Phillies. It’s worth noting that there are similarities between Lester’s situation and Lee’s.
|Zack Greinke takes stock of Jon Lester, Max Scherzer, free agent pitching market||07.14.14 at 5:24 pm ET|
When Greinke arrived at free agency two years ago, he had just turned 29, pitched 1,492 innings and owned a 3.77 career ERA with 8.0 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings. He commanded a landmark six-year, $144 million deal from the Dodgers. Lester — in a more difficult division, but at an older age (30) — is nearing the open market with a career 3.66 ERA, 8.2 strikeouts and 3.1 walks per nine innings and 1,505 career innings under his belt. So, Greinke’s $24 million-a-year haul will undoubtedly be a point of reference for Lester, just as it was for Scherzer and the Tigers when Detroit offered (and Scherzer rejected) a six-year, $144 million offer this spring.
“There’s a lot more pitchers like me than there are pitchers like [C.C.] Sabathia when he got to the open market and [Clayton] Kershaw if he got to the open market,” said Greinke, referencing the left-handers who commanded deals of seven years and $169 million (Sabathia from the Yankees after the 2008 season) and seven years and $215 million (Kershaw from the Dodgers this spring. “It’s a lot easier to compare players to my skill level than theirs. Scherzer and Lester, they’re fantastic, but they’re not, I don’t think, at Sabathia’s level when he became a free agent, because he was pretty amazing.”
As a student of the game, Greinke has considered the cases of both Lester and Scherzer. He notes that the months ahead could transform their futures by nine-figure sums.
“They’re two different ones,” said Greinke. “Scherzer has been amazing to me, because he’s slowly gotten better every year. Even this year, his velocity has gotten down a little bit, but his ability to pitch has gotten much better. Even though he’s an older guy, it seems he’s still getting better, which makes him kind of exciting. Lester’s had more of an up-and-down career but he’s had a longer track record of success than Scherzer. They’ve both been healthy. It’s pretty interesting, those two. And they’re both pitching really good right now.
“There’s still a long time to go with the season. Their contracts could go from $100 million to $200 million or $100 million to $20 million over the next two months, depending on how they pitch, if they’re healthy and all that stuff.”
|Kevin Millar on M&M: Padres’ Carlos Quentin charging the mound ‘an overreaction and it’s kind of tired’||04.12.13 at 1:39 pm ET|
Kevin Millar joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to talk about the brawl that broke out between the Dodgers and Padres on Thursday night and about what he’s seen from the Red Sox so far.
Millar said he thinks Carlos Quentin should be punished harshly for charging the mound and breaking Zack Greinke‘s collarbone. However, he said there’s no way Dodgers manager Don Mattingly‘s proposal that Quentin shouldn’t play again until Greinke returns from the injury will come true.
“It’s a great soundbite, it’s great for Don Mattingly to say that, but it’s not going to happen,” he said. “You’re not going to suspend somebody 30-40 games for charging the mound. A lot of guys get hurt charging the mound, but that’s part of charging the mound. It’s just a typical suspension, you’re going to get fined, but if you overreact — you’re not going to sit out 30-40 games. You’ve got guys that take steroids that sit out 50 games. You charge the mound, you tell me it’s going to be close to that? No.
“There are divers in the game. You know when a guy’s throwing at you, and if Quentin really thought Greinke’s throwing at him? ‘¦ I don’t think he’s throwing at him. It’s a one-run game, it’s a 3-2 count. It’s an overreaction and it’s kind of tired. ‘¦ Poor Zack Greinke’s a buck-92 and Quentin’s no small guy. It’s bad for the game when somebody goes down like that, and if you’re a Giants fan you’re over there licking your chops saying, ‘We’ve got a chance to keep going.’ ”
On whether he’s worried about Joel Hanrahan: “No, not at all. His stuff’s too good. It happens early in the season and it becomes magnified, but this guy’s going to save a lot of games for the Red Sox. ‘¦ He had to get out of that inning [against the Orioles], and it didn’t happen, and they lost, big deal.”
On Jackie Bradley’s recent struggles: “It’s part of growing pains. That’s why I always tell everyone, don’t get so excited about spring training statistics. ‘¦ The bottom line is, I would like to see the Red Sox somewhat get some consistency with their lineup. I don’t like Jonny Gomes sitting on the bench all the time. This is a threat you signed for 10 million bucks for a couple of years. Let him get in there and get his feet going and start hitting some balls. As far as a young man like Jackie Bradley Jr. who’s going to have a great career — he’s a great kid, the work ethic’s there. He’s going through a little stretch right now.”
|Hot Stove: Dan Haren gets one-year deal from Nationals||12.04.12 at 11:20 am ET|
|Ben Cherington on trading a starting pitcher: ‘We have to be open-minded’||12.01.12 at 12:09 pm ET|
In the past, it is the sort of conversation that would never happen with the Red Sox. The idea of trading a front-of-the-rotation starter who is in his prime, with a track record of considerable success, healthy, affordable and under team control for multiple years? There wasn’t a point to the Red Sox discussing such players, and other teams never bothered to engage the Sox about them.
Now, after a 69-93 2012 season, the world looks different. The Sox already showed a willingness to make the type of trade that they never would have considered in the past in August, when they dealt Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford to the Dodgers in one colossal reshaping of the team’s roster and payroll. And so now, perhaps, it should come as little surprise that the team is at least in a position where it has to consider discussing anyone in the rotation in a potential trade, including a pitcher like 28-year-old Jon Lester.
That’s not to say that the team is eager to let Lester go. But if there’s a team that’s willing to consider offering a potentially massive asset — someone like, for instance, Royals outfielder (and Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year) Wil Myers, then the Sox are in a position to listen.
GM Ben Cherington has said that the Sox are looking to add a fifth starter via trade or free agency to a group that already includes Lester, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and John Lackey. But, Cherington acknowledged on Saturday at the Christmas at Fenway event, he won’t rule out the possibility of dealing one of those four pitchers, thus creating a need to add two starters this winter.
‘Anything is possible, but certainly it’s harder to do that, to subtract somebody from the rotation,” said Cherington. ‘We have a number of players that teams like. We’re in a perhaps different situation than we have been in the past coming off the year we did. Maybe in light of that, teams not surprisingly are inquiring about things that maybe they wouldn’t have in the past. Look, we have to be open-minded; we lost 93 games. But our primary focus is to build the best team we can for 2013 and one that doesn’t in any way get in the way of a great team for a long time. That’s our focus, and that will guide us for the next several weeks. But you’ve got to be open-minded when you have a year like this, and we’re trying to build a team that will sustain a level of success over a long period of time.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Hot Stove: RHP Zack Greinke meets with Dodgers||11.30.12 at 11:20 am ET|
Greinke, 29, was 15-5 with a 3.48 ERA last season. He played for the Brewers until July 27, when he was traded to the Angels. With the Angels, Greinke was 6-2 in 13 starts with a 3.53 ERA. Over the past two seasons, he is 31-11 with a 3.63 ERA.
Greinke’s best year by far was in 2005 with the Royals. He won the AL Cy Young and was named an All-Star. That season he had 16 wins with an amazingly low 2.16 ERA.
Brown reports that the Rangers, Nationals and Angels also have interest in Greinke. Greinke reportedly has enjoyed his time in the Los Angeles area and might want to stay in the region, but he could opt for the Dodgers.
|Thursday’s Red Sox-Angels matchups: Jon Lester vs. Zack Greinke||08.30.12 at 9:27 am ET|
Lester’s season has aligned perfectly with Boston’s disappointing year as he’s 8-10 with a 4.98 ERA. However, he seems to have turned it around lately, winning three straight since Aug. 12. August has been by far his best month at 3-2 with a 3.12 ERA, as he has finished at least the sixth inning in all of his starts this month.
In his last outing on Friday, Lester earned his eighth win by going seven innings and allowing only three runs on six hits in a 4-3 win over Kansas City. It was the first time he had gone back-to-back starts while completing at least seven innings since June 22 and 27.
The lefty’s career record vs. the Angels is an impressive 4-1 despite having a 4.20 ERA in seven starts. He’s also 2-0 in Angel Stadium. The current Angels lineup is somewhat familiar with him as five players have more than 10 at-bats vs him in their careers. Maicer Izturis and Torrii Hunter have the most success against him out of that group and are 5-for-11 and 5-for-12, respectively.
The Angels will send deadline acquistion Zack Greinke to the mound opposite Lester.
Greinke was acquired from the Brewers in July to help bolster the starting rotation, however he hasn’t been able to return to his early season form. Currently he’s 2-2 with a 5.22 ERA in six starts with Los Angeles, but overall this season, he’s 11-5 with a 3.87 ERA. Only two of his six starts with the Angels have been of the quality start variety.
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