AL East Notes: Lester, Sox, Lackey, Soria, Yanks, Rays

Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said on WEEI radio’s Dennis and Callahan show today that extension talks with ace Jon Lester have been tabled until the offseason. Lucchino reminded that Lester’s preference is to avoid negotiating during the season. Lester told reporters, including the Boston Globe’s Peter Abraham, that he wasn’t surprised to hear Lucchino’s comments (Twitter link). However, Rob Bradford of does hear from a source that Lester would be open to signing a midseason deal if the Sox were to offer market value for his services right now. The other possibility for Lester could be a trade, if the Sox fall further back in the East — a concept which Lester admits he has considered (via the Globe’s Nick Cafardo). Lester said if it came to that, he wouldn’t harbor any ill feelings toward the organization.

Here’s more on the BoSox and the AL East…

  • Lucchino also said on WEEI that he expects the Red Sox to be active at the trade deadline, though he noted that nearing the deadline with a sub-.500 record is new territory for the Sox. Asked about buying or selling, Lucchino referred to the trade deadline as a “binary process” and implied that the Sox could do some of both.
  • Also of note from Lucchino is that the Red Sox plan to engage John Lackey in extension talks after the season. Lackey’s Tommy John surgery in 2012 triggered a $500K option for the 2015 season due to an injury clause in his contract. Lucchino is quoted: “I think that there will be some contract negotiations with him probably at the end of the year as well and we’€™ll see what his frame of mind is with respect to longer-term contracts.”
  • The Blue Jays were in the mix for Joakim Soria before the Rangers traded him to the Tigers, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). Talks never became too serious or progressed to the stage where offers were exchanged, however.
  • Morosi also notes that the Yankees are still looking to add a starter to their ranks (Twitter link). Earlier today, he noted that the Yanks scouted Ian Kennedy‘s last start, though reports from earlier today indicated that the Padres would need to be “overwhelmed” to move him.
  • Rays president Matt Silverman tells Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that there are some “obvious flaws” with the Competitive Balance Lottery, in which the Rays were not awarded a pick yesterday. As Topkin notes, seemingly less-needing teams such as the Cardinals, Orioles and Rockies all received picks. Silverman went on to say, however, that even if the lottery were better constructed, it would “only scratch the surface of the competitive balance issues plaguing baseball.”

26 Responses to AL East Notes: Lester, Sox, Lackey, Soria, Yanks, Rays Leave a Reply

  1. CDZ 1 year ago

    Has anybody came up with a package that would move Kennedy? What teams have the right prospects at the right levels and are looking for a starter?

    • Steve Adams 1 year ago

      I’m sure there are plenty of teams that COULD acquire him. I’d imagine Toronto, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Atlanta all have enough pieces (to say nothing of intra-division clubs like the Dodgers and Giants), but ponying up and paying that price isn’t something most (if any) of them want to do.

      Kennedy’s not going to require a Top 10 prospect or something, in my mind, but he’ll be difficult for a team to pry away it seems.

  2. Mike1L 1 year ago

    If Lester wants “market value” now, I’m not sure it makes that much sense for the team to do anything during the season. Their only risk, if they decide they want to keep him, is a bidding war when he’s a free agent. But the Red Sox have shown themselves in recent years to be pretty cold-blood and rational when it comes to long term contracts. A lackey extension might actually be a better value.

    • Dr. Balloons 1 year ago

      No reason they can’t do both. Besides market value for Lester during the season is probably lower than it will be during free agency when a lack of common sense destroys expected market values. If they can’t extend him now they need to trade him and either enter the bidding war in the off-season or look elsewhere. The worst case is no trade and no extension.

  3. BucknerRulz86 1 year ago

    Sox need to get something done with Lester. The alternative is to hope Buchholz can take the reigns of #1 and if the kids are able to perform up to expectations, which at current time is a pretty big IF. Webster and Ranaudo are unproven and Owens in is Portland. Will Brandon Workman be in the bullpen next year? Will Lackey be back? Too many questions starting at the top. A complete reshuffle of the rotation is unnecessary at this point. Boston, you can afford Lester, stop playing like you can’t.

    • saidin09 1 year ago

      Lester is gone. Go get Cole Hamels or the like and trade ur for a young power bat. Sox will not beat out Yankees, Dodgers simply because they don’t want to. Clay will never be a number 1 or 2 imo…too inconsistent.While we’re at it we should package him and a couple prospects for a package centered around (you guessed it) a young power bat. Good riddens. We need bats..the only defensive first guy that stays is JBJ. Our offense makes AA pitchers look like Cy Young

      • saidin09 1 year ago

        Btw, trading Lester means you can keep him out of the AL East. Team getting him would most likely want Extension done b4 free agency and unlike Sox, will ante up

        • $17857693 1 year ago

          Depends who he gets traded to, the 2 teams i would look at first are the dodgers and cardinals. In the case of the Cardinals, I would give them just about anything they want to get Tavares back, may it be Holt as well or a different utility guy. As for the Dodgers, you could throw Uehara in the same deal and pry away Pederson and another 2 top prospects away from them to build a package around.

      • BucknerRulz86 1 year ago

        I know this was posted previously in another thread somewhere, but why trade prospects AND have to pay for Hamels when you can keep the prospects and just pay Lester to stay? Both have very similar #’s with Lester’s coming in the AL East. I agree, Buchholz too inconsistent to depend as a #1 or 2. They go through all this trouble to save money to spend on FA and then Ben C. goes out and blows it on Stephen Drew and AJ Pierzynski. Makes no sense.

        • BucknerRulz86 1 year ago

          Letting Lester walk, betting the kids can reach their potential, and if they don’t, you have to go out and sign a pitcher who can perform just seems like a backwards was to build a consistent rotation. Why not take that money and invest in a proven commodity?

          • saidin09 1 year ago

            I agree with u completely. I want Lester, but you know how our front office works, that’s why they were already looking for his replacement last week. Speaking of Hamels, in my dream scenario I would sign Lester and Hamels and say goodbye to Rubby D, Workman and Checcini in that trade and Clay, Doubront in others.Most GMs are cling this a big sellers market. Time for Ben to construct thaT ” next great Sox team.

        • saidin09 1 year ago

          Because like I said,Lester is gone. We need someone to take his place. Unfortunately that will prob require a trade. Look I was optimistic when it was only Lester that wanted to table talks and drop hints that he was still open to a deal. Now that front office has declared the same, I think there is no chance at keeping him in Boston. This is why we should trade him.This is not a case like with Varitek on his last deal. Lester will have teams throwing bags of money at him and the Sox will lose him if they don’t up the ante, which means he’s already gone.

    • NomarGarciaparra 1 year ago

      I have no confidence in Buchholz at all. Even though he’s shown moments of eliteness here and there, he seems shaky and unrealiable overall.

  4. griffey9988 1 year ago

    I was about to make fun of the part that says that being below .500 is new to the Red Sox at the trading deadline because of that terrible 2012 season. But they were actually 2 games above .500 at 53-51 at the deadline that year. I remember them being terrible the whole year, but they actually weren’t doing too bad up to that point and just tanked after the deadline.

  5. BrynGilkey 1 year ago

    “binary process” love that term by Lucchino. Too many people think when you’re out of the race you can only be a seller. Larry’s got it right, a team that wants to win next year needs to be open to selling and buying, whichever best serves the longer plan.

  6. NOLASoxFan 1 year ago

    I remain completely flummoxed by the Red Sox’ approach to Lester. I have absolutely no idea why they are expressing so little interest in signing their best pitcher. They have payroll flexibility galore for the next decade. He’s one of their 2-3 core players. They have no one lined up to take his place. There’s no chance they will match what the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers, etc. will offer him once he reaches free agency. He’s as good as gone. I don’t get it now. I won’t get it when he leaves. I won’t get it when they end up paying more to try and replace him. It makes no sense to me at all. They’re not the Rays or A’s operating on a shoestring. They’re a financial juggernaut.

    • TheRealRyan 1 year ago

      If I had to guess, the Red Sox lack of interest was really them being scared. From 2011-2013, Lester had a 4.03 ERA, 3.84 FIP and 3.78 xFIP. The idea of paying him TOR money into his mid 30s for a pitcher that the fanbase overvalues and was already showing a pretty big decline must be scary. Then he goes out and has a career year and now they are probably even more scared at the potential cost to keep him because he is going to want ace money.

      • NOLASoxFan 1 year ago

        I get the fear. I get the risks. But, the Red Sox have virtually no long-term commitments on their roster (other than Pedroia). They literally have less committed to their future than the Rays. They can afford to gamble on Lester declining three years into a 5-6 year deal. They can do it and still have tons and tons of payroll flexibility going forward. They have lots of upcoming players (though not many stars) coming up to fill the gaps. But, they have to have the core group of high-quality players. Lester is one of them. It’s not like they can replace him on the open market. Anyone capable of filling his shoes is either a scratch ticket or just as expensive. Assuming they let him get to free agency, they won’t match the offer he gets from the Cubs or Yanks, whomever. What then? How do they replace him? A group of prospects aren’t going to make up for it, nor are a bunch of cut-rate guys hoping for a career year. I just don’t get it.

  7. wkkortas 1 year ago

    You’ll note that the new CBA wouldn’t allow the Rays to get those draft picks anymore, nor does it allow teams like the Rays, Royals, and Pirates–teams that don’t have the resources to fish in the big-free-agent pond–to spend over-slot without drastic repurcussions in the amateur draft any more. He’s right that it’s ridiculous that the Cardinals would receive a competetive lottery pick, and he’s right the last CBA is a punitive measure against small market teams.

  8. evan 1 year ago

    Cherington has never said he’ll extend Lackey. In fact, he said he expects Lackey to honor his contract and play for the minimum next year.

  9. Eric Droegemeier 1 year ago

    If Lucchino is on board with it, I’m pretty sure that means Cherington will have to comply. Ownership usually has more clout in decision making in Boston, a good example of that is bringing in Bobby Valentine. That was purely an ownership decision.

  10. evan 1 year ago

    There’s a big difference between giving Lackey an extra yr or two at a very affordable price vs giving Lester 7yrs $160 million

  11. Eric Droegemeier 1 year ago

    …. You think any team is going to give Lester 7/160? I would rather give 5/120 to Lester than 3/40 to Lackey

  12. evan 1 year ago

    I think some team would offer Lester close to 7/160, at least 6/140. And I don’t think the Sox would give Lackey 3/40. More like boost his salary next yr to 10 mil and give him an extra yr at 10-15 mil.

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