Stark’s Latest: Lester, Burnett, Lee, Kennedy, Lackey, Suzuki

Jon Lester remains the most-discussed name at the moment, and ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark contributes his take after discussing the lefty with several club executives who will not be involved in any deals. He discusses the possibility of eight teams going after Lester: the Dodgers, Cardinals, Mariners, Orioles, Blue Jays, Braves, Brewers, and Pirates. Though Los Angeles still seems unwilling to part with any of its premium prospects, Stark tabs them the likeliest landing spot.

Of course, Stark also provides a number of important updates from elsewhere in the market in his latest post. Here are the key takeaways:

  • Talks between the Phillies and Pirates regarding A.J. Burnett are “all but dead,” writes Stark. The issue is that Burnett has been unwilling to give an assurance that he would not pick up his player option for next season, creating too much financial uncertainty for Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, the Phillies have not yet abandoned hope of dealing fellow starter Cliff Lee before the deadline, though an official says that they want significant prospects in return.
  • Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if David Price of the Rays or Ian Kennedy of the Padres are moved, with Stark writing that the former will be a last-minute decision and the latter remains a 50-50 proposition. With the GM seat still unfilled in San Diego, and given that Kennedy remains under control for next year, the club is unwilling to move him unless the return includes a starter capable of stepping into the rotation along with another prospect.
  • The Red Sox are asking for a strong return on John Lackey in discussions. The club wants an established major league starter, presumably with additional control. If that is part of the return on Lester, however, the club might be open to more flexibility in a return for Lackey.
  • The Twins are telling inquiring clubs that they have not yet given up on extending Kurt Suzuki, and could keep him past the deadline. If that occurs, the team could still consider August deals, though the waiver process (and Suzuki’s cheap contract) could prove a hindrance.
  • Scouting trips can obviously be undertaken for many purposes, but Stark provides a few interesting ones to note: The Rangers have scouted the Nationals‘ top affiliate this weekend; though rumors quickly died down, Washington was said to have inquired about Adrian Beltre. The White Sox are looking at the affiliates of the YankeesBlue Jays, and Red Sox as they consider offers for John Danks. And the Red Sox have scouted the Triple-A affiliate of the Braves, who are said to be very interested in lefty Andrew Miller.


63 Responses to Stark’s Latest: Lester, Burnett, Lee, Kennedy, Lackey, Suzuki Leave a Reply

  1. Cdiaz 11 months ago

    I doubt the redsox get a number one prospect for lester he has less than a seasom left probably top 5 yes but not number one.

    • zeles 11 months ago

      I guess you forgot that time Matt Garza gathered 5 Texas Prospects including their #2.

      Lester also has significant post season experience (where he performed and got them a title).

      A third point there’s a lot more demand for an ace this year it seems (just look at how many players are on the table).

      • Cdiaz 11 months ago

        Did you hear the phillies are getting frustrated because they haven’t gotten the right offers for cole hamels who is better than lester. Dodgers won’t give up that because there pretty much in for october but they do need another SP to go all the way

        • vtadave 11 months ago

          Not sure the Dodgers really do need another starter, other than perhaps a back-end of the rotation guy. I’d say Kershaw, Greinke, and Ryu can win three playoff series.

          • BlueSkyLA 11 months ago

            Right. And also going unmentioned in all these discussions is obvious fact that if the Dodgers do trade for a starting pitcher they will have to get rid of one or more of Haren, Beckett, and Maholm.

          • Cdiaz 11 months ago

            Maholm isn’t doing much . As a reliver he’s not getting outs and as a starter he gets knocked out outta the game pretty fast and haren he’s a number 5 with a high ERA.

          • BlueSkyLA 11 months ago

            Right, though it has to be said that his last start was impressive. Either way, I don’t think the Dodgers are planning on releasing him. Any trade for starting pitching could involve moving one of the three. Almost certainly would.

          • Cdiaz 11 months ago

            Well lets hope they don’t trade none of our top 3 prospects, especially for a rental its not worth it. People want the dodgers to send atleast two in every deal.

          • BlueSkyLA 11 months ago

            They can wish for whatever they want, but they aren’t going to get it. Colletti isn’t afraid to make small deals. I’m thinking something more along the lines of the Nolasco trade. Send someone Maholm and most of his salary and a midlevel prospect for an upgrade to Haren, with Haren moving into Maholm’s long/swing role.

          • Cdiaz 11 months ago

            Then who would be the number 5 starter they have jamey wright for long relief role. They should call the astros for keuchel probably lee and other prospects could get it done lee is kinda struggling, but hes young.

          • BlueSkyLA 11 months ago

            Maholm is also in the pen for long relief and as a swingman. Haren would be better suited that duty than starting every fifth day.

        • zeles 11 months ago

          Hamels is a really bad comparison since he’s locked up for a while and not about to hit free agency.

          • Cdiaz 11 months ago

            I prefer hamels than price lester ect . He’s done it i still remember when he beat l.a when they when on to win the w.s

      • Overbrook 11 months ago

        Who was Texas’ #2 that the Cubs got? They got 3 prospects and a back-end starter. Anyway, while Lester is better than Garza, you still need a team to overpay like Daniels did. I don’t see it happening.

        • zeles 11 months ago

          Olt was rank 2 in their system

          • Overbrook 11 months ago

            Olt was horribly flawed with his vision problems at the time of the trade – he was dropping like a rock. Edwards was the plum, and he was inching into some top 50 lists, but not universally so.
            The Bosox should be able to get an Edwards level prospect and a couple of other interesting A ball prospects for Lester.

      • Joe Forkner 11 months ago

        I think that trade actually serves to dissuade teams from doing the same thing. Rangers GM has openly said he made a mistake.

        • zeles 11 months ago

          He did say that but easy to say when Garza wasn’t very good after he was traded compared to what the thought they were getting. (ERA went from 3-4.5 and his WHIP was significantly worse).

          Lester just carried his team in the world series and has an ERA at 2.5 with a WHIP hovering around 1.

          • Joe Forkner 11 months ago

            True enough, it only takes one foolish team. Olt was having a horrible year in AA when traded and failed to impress in a call up. I still think the package was an overpay, but at the same time I don’t think the Rangers had any confidence Olt’s bat would play in the ML. Hard to argue it as of now.

            Segura for Greinke is really the only true top 25 prospect I can remember going for a rental with the rules for comp pick changed. Not even sure Segura was any better than top 50. It was a 3 player deal though.

    • Tko11 11 months ago

      There’s a bidding war brewing.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

      It really depends what organization you are talking about. The Angels had to give up their #1 overall prospect, Taylor Lindsey, for a reliever, Houston Street. The A’s on the other hand traded their #1 prospect, Addison Russel, for 2 starters, Shark and Hammel.

      The quality of an organization’s #1 prospect varies greatly from team to team.

      • Cdiaz 11 months ago

        But not the dodgers thought organizations who better prospects won’t give their number one for half a season.

  2. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

    Why are Pirates so wary of Burnett’s 7.5 MM player option, they paid him 8 M in 2013.

    • Eric 11 months ago

      They are 27th in payroll and 7.5 million scares them. Makes sense.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

        A 1/7.5 deal is really cheap for a SP these days, worst comes to worst they could always trade Burnett for salary relief in the off-season.

        • Chris Vinnit 11 months ago

          It’s not this year they are worried about. It’s that ridiculous second year. They are paying $6M for Liriano and $5M for Volquez. As posted above, AJ could earn like $13M next season if he hits all his (fairly attainable) escalators. That’s just absurd and way out of the Pirates price range.

          If they make that trade and AJ hooks them for next year, forget about signing Martin, extending Walker/Polanco or bringing in any new SPs/RPs.

    • Jeff Miller 11 months ago

      It’s a goofy option that could become as much as $12.75M for next year depending on how many starts he makes this year. He starts hitting escalators with his next start for both this season and his option.

      • jdogg13 11 months ago

        An Amaro special.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

        Yuk never mind, B-Ref has it listed as a straight 7.5 M player option. At 12.75 its not nearly as good a deal.

        • Jeff Miller 11 months ago

          Yeah, that’s why the Phillies should seriously consider releasing him if they can’t move him by Thursday. He’s owed about $2.5M in salary the rest of this season and if he stays healthy enough to start every 5th day he could get another $2M or so plus the $12.75M next year. If they just release him they’d probably save around $14M.

          While that might not seem like a lot for the Phillies, that money could go to signing someone like Yasmani Tomas or Rusney Castillo. Potential building blocks for the future.

          • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

            Even if they release him can’t Burnett keep them on the hook for his remaining 2014 salary and 7.5 M next year?

          • Jeff Miller 11 months ago

            He’d still be owed the $2.5M for this year and I think the $1M buyout.

          • Mike1L 11 months ago

            My hunch would be that if they released a player who was performing (and he is) to escape escalators, etc. they would find themselves with a gigantic grievance–and they would lose.

          • Jeff Miller 11 months ago

            Maybe, though a case could definitely be made that he hasn’t been pitching well for awhile. Over his last 17 starts, since the beginning of May, he’s pitched to a 4.82 ERA in 112 innings.

    • James Rogers 11 months ago

      3 words…over the hill.

      • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

        People were using the same 3 words the first time Burnett went to PIT….

  3. Pei Kang 11 months ago

    It might be a ho-hum deadline….

  4. WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

    RAJ never abandons hope just logic, no one is giving up significant prospects in return for Cliff Lee before the deadline.

  5. Joe Forkner 11 months ago

    Big market teams like the Dodgers can afford to wait until after the deadline and pick up help for cash vs prospects. I do not see them moving Seager or Urias, but Joc could be possible in the right deal…but highly unlikely.

  6. Evan 11 months ago

    Whats the logic of trading for Lackey( An established Major League Starter with Team Control) using an established Major League Starter with Team Control. If a team had that, why would they be trading for it?

    • BoSoXaddict 11 months ago

      Lackey’s 2015 salary…

      • GrumpyPuppy 11 months ago

        You mean zero after he retires….

        • BoSoXaddict 11 months ago

          ONE writer off-handedly suggested retirement as a possibility in ONE article and all of a sudden it became this huge possibility. There are zero indications Lackey intends to retire, regardless of his 2015 salary.

          • GrumpyPuppy 11 months ago

            Actually there was additional reporting on the matter earlier today….

          • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

            While I generally agree with you I have to think the chances of Lackey retiring increase significantly if he is traded. Why go through the hassle of moving your family and learning a new team all for 1 year at league minimum.

          • Karkat 11 months ago

            Because if he keeps pitching like he is, he has at least a solid two-year deal (plus an option, maybe!) waiting for him.

          • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

            If he stays with the Sox I couldn’t agree with you more but if hes traded it adds a new factor to consider. If Lackey doesn’t enjoy his new team or city why stick it out all for the chance at another 2 year deal, Lackey has already made over 100 M in his career.

          • Karkat 11 months ago

            I think he might actually like playing baseball.

          • BoSoXaddict 11 months ago

            It’s moot regardless because no team would trade for Lackey without getting an assurance from his agent beforehand that he would honor the contract.

          • GrumpyPuppy 11 months ago

            You can get all the assurances you want but there is no way under the CBA or US law to force a person to play baseball….. If Lackey wants to retire he can do so at anytime.

    • psabella 11 months ago

      took the words…..

  7. redsox4434 11 months ago

    Lester, Miller and Lackey for McCutchen and Taillon. You’re welcome, Pittsburgh.

    • WhoKilledTheRallyMonkey 11 months ago

      Safe to assume Pedrioa will be going to PIT in that deal as well?

    • Karkat 11 months ago

      You know how much contending teams like trading their franchise players.

    • Nathan Boley 11 months ago

      Umm how do I put this? ……..no.

  8. Mike1L 11 months ago

    Someone will pay a high price for Lester, and someone will be really unhappy. Trading long term assets for a couple of months and maybe the post season doesn’t make a lot of sense. That’s not a knock on Lester, it’s a nod towards current baseball economics.

    • NomarGarciaparra 11 months ago

      Actually if they end up winning the World Series with Lester playing a mild to significant role, it would be worth it.

      As a Red Sox fan, I don’t think many fellow Sox fans regret the Beckett trade with the Marlins. We gave up the careers of Hanley Ramirez and Anibal Sanchez, but Beckett played a key role in the 2007 World Series. Of course, this is all in hindsight, as the evaluate of the Lester trade will be.

      • Bob Bunker 11 months ago

        As a Red Sox fan I definitely regret the Beckett trade because in 2007 Hanley Ramirez hit .332 with 29 HR and a 145 OPS+ while being paid min salary! Instead of having him at SS they gave 630 AB to Julio Lugo who gave them a 65 OPS+ and was paid 8.25 million.

        • NomarGarciaparra 11 months ago

          We are not Tampa Bay or the Twins. Sure it’d be great to have low payroll. But at the end of the day, we won a World Series and Beckett played a key role in that. If that costs us $20 million extra, I’ll take it.

          I see what you mean in your comparison of Hanley vs. Lugo though. But even with that extra production with Hanley, there is no guarantees of a WS. What’s important is that Beckett played a key role in that WS, so we can say the trade worked out well for both sides.

          It is for this same reason that teams pay big for elite players at the deadline. You’re giving away a potential all-star career, but if that helps you win the WS this year, it’s worth it!

          • Bob Bunker 11 months ago

            I agree that the World Series made it worth it but I regret it because it was a still a big risk just look at 2006 when Beckett was awful. Han-Ram was the best prospect the Red Sox ever had at the position they have struggled to fill since Nomar was traded.

            I just feel like with him and Sanchez so much could have changed but its still likely the right moves could have been made to win a World Series, if not in 2007 in 2008 or 2009, though of course there is no way of knowing.

            Also, another thing was with the 2004 World Series being such a huge event for Boston I feel like 2007 wasn’t as important as most teams going for a ring.

  9. Chris Vinnit 11 months ago

    Glad the Pirates walked away from an AJ deal. I could see if they lowballed him this off-season but they offered him a very fair 1 year $12 million deal. He decided to chase the money – guess $140 million over a career isn’t enough for some people – and accept that absurd two year contract Philly gave him. You want to chase every last penny, that’s your right. But good on the Pirates for refusing to let him have his cake and eat it too. Have fun being a #4 starter for a last place team, AJ.

  10. Hurdled Again 11 months ago

    Please just trade Burnett to Baltimore already. I don’t care who ‘wins’ the deal. Just do it.

  11. Danielle Rennifer 11 months ago

    Please Jack Z. make a trade proposal to acquire pitcher John Lester and Johnny Gomes or Shane Victorino if having to send Brandon Maurer/Tyler Pike, Gabriel Guerrero, Carson Smith, and Jesus Montero/Justin Smoak to the Red Sox. Gomes/Victorino can bring some offense help to support Cano, Morales, Seager, and rest of the team by playing farther in the playoffs. Montero/Smoak can then be dealt to a non playoff team needing first base or DH help.

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