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Glenn’s Drew’s Morning Dish: I probably shouldn’t, but I’d support bold Lester trade

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Glenn’s Drew’s Morning Dish: I probably shouldn’t, but I’d support bold Lester trade

Posted on 29 July 2014 by Glenn Clark

Drew’s Morning Dish is brought to you every day by Koons Baltimore Ford. Since they didn’t tell me otherwise Monday, I’ll assume Glenn’s Drew’s Morning Dish is also brought to you today by Koons Baltimore Ford-where I have bought something like five cars at this point.

I assume a good bit of Tuesday’s “D&L Window Tinting Morning Reaction” will surround the reaction Ray Rice received Monday night at the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium practice. I’ll make time for that conversation throughout the show-but more importantly I’ll note here I was pleased to not see the Ravens running back utilize his “flex” celebration at any point during the evening.

The “other” big story Tuesday will be the news that the Baltimore Orioles have contacted the Boston Red Sox about the potential to acquire starting pitcher Jon Lester. The news was reported by Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi and IMMEDIATELY becomes the most interesting trade target of the season (or at least since they were talking to the Chicago Cubs about Jeff Samardzija before the Oakland deal).

Unlike the other two starting pitchers the Birds have been positively connected to in the past week (AJ Burnett and Jorge De La Rosa), Lester represents something important-an actual upgrade. While the others would simply fall into the group of slightly above average starters the O’s already have five (six if you choose to count $50 million man Ubaldo Jimenez) of, the veteran left hander would immediately move to the top of the Baltimore rotation and would be slated to start Game 1 of a potential playoff series.

Lester has had an outstanding career including two World Series titles-but his 2014 season is shaping up to be his best. As he heads toward free agency, the 30 year old is 10-7 with a dazzling 2.52 ERA and sparkling 1.11 WHIP over 21 starts. It is logical that the Red Sox are listening to trade offers for him (and reportedly John Lackey as well) after dealing Jake Peavy to San Francisco over the weekend. After suffering a blowout loss Monday night, the Sox fell to 48-58 on the season and are 11 games back of the Orioles in last place in the AL East.

With free agency looming for the Red Sox, they find themselves in the enviable position of being able to potentially acquire young talent in exchange for Lester before Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline and then ultimately end up re-signing him anyway during the offseason. The Orioles have done this in the past with SS Mike Bordick (netting them likely future team Hall of Famer Melvin Mora) and pitcher Sidney Ponson (netting them…nothing really).

It’s possible that as we near the deadline, the Sox could find themselves a little more willing to sell low knowing Lester can’t really help them the rest of the season. The more likely scenario is that the team will have no shortage of suitors and will be looking for even more to be willing to deal the three time All-Star within the division.

For the Orioles, a move to rent Lester could cost a package centered around top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and/or Hunter Harvey. The most likely scenario would be that the team would not retain him moving forward and he would depart to a higher paying suitor (perhaps a return to Beantown) after the season.

So the question becomes simple-is it worth giving up a former first round pick (or more) to add one pitcher for the next two months.

My answer is that it might well be.

Like everyone else in this business, I can’t see the future. Perhaps the gal with three nipples from the movie “Mallrats” could tell us more about what Bundy/Harvey/Eduardo Rodriguez/Christian Walker/Dariel Alvarez/etc. are going to be in the future and what Lester will do for the next couple of months if he changes addresses. I can’t give you those answers. I can only tell you I’d be willing to take the risk.

(For the record, I wouldn’t even discuss Kevin Gausman in any trade. He’s far too important to the team’s chances of winning now. I would struggle to part with both Bundy and Harvey in a Lester trade and probably WOULDN’T be able to pull the trigger.)

Lester is the perfect prize to receive if you’re taking a chance at a World Series championship. He’s not in the middle of a disappointing season. There are no doubts about his ability to pitch against American League competition or in AL East ballparks. There are no doubts about how he’d handle high-pressure starts late in the season or potentially in the postseason.

He’s nothing more than an opportunity to put a historically good lefty at the top of your rotation as you try to separate yourself in a division that isn’t going quitting (the Blue Jays pulled to within 2.5 games by beating Boston Monday night). He further represents an opportunity to better set up against the likes of the Athletics, Tigers and Angels in a potential playoff series.

It comes with a hefty price and may or may not truly be realistic, but Lester is exactly what the O’s need at this point to truly bolster themselves for a playoff run.

I don’t know how we’d view a deal like this in five years, but for Tuesday-it’s a deal I’d be willing to make.

-G

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Report: Orioles discussing Burnett trade with Phillies

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Report: Orioles discussing Burnett trade with Phillies

Posted on 20 July 2014 by Glenn Clark

With Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Baltimore Orioles are apparently pursuing help for their starting rotation. FoxSports.com/Fox Sports 1′s Jon Morosi reported the following Saturday…



The right hander is 6-9 this season with a 4.08 ERA and 1.361 WHIP over 21 starts in 2014-although he has shown durability by working 136.2 innings-over six innings per start. The 16 year veteran signed a deal with the Phils in the offseason after receiving interest from the Birds in free agency. Burnett’s contract is a bit complicated, as explained in a NJ.com report…

Burnett’s contract could scare off potential suitors if the Phillies don’t eat money in a complex one-year, $16 million contract that easily could turn into a two-year, $32.25 million deal by virtue of a 2015 player option and performance bonuses.

If Burnett stays healthy this season and doesn’t play in 2015, a team trading for him this month could end up paying as little as $5.25 million – $2.5 million in salary, $1.75 million in bonuses (if he makes 10 more starts) and a $1 million buyout.

But if Burnett opts to play in 2015 and he makes 32 starts this season – he’s 12 away – his club option jumps from $8.5 million to $12.75 million. He also can earn another $500,000 next season for making his 24th and 27th starts, and $750,000 for making his 30th start.

Burnett last pitched in the American League in 2011 with the New York Yankees (where he had won a World Series ring in 2009), going 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. It was his second consecutive season with a five plus ERA for the Yanks, although he followed it up with consecutive sub four ERA seasons after moving to the National League and joining the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Phillies have been expected to be interested in moving a number of veterans, perhaps also including fellow pitchers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels as well as second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Philly improved to 43-54 Saturday after a 2-1 over the Atlanta Braves. They are 10 games back of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Burnett has a no-trade clause in his contract with Philly, but it is believed the O’s are not one of the 21 teams he could block a deal to as his family lives in Monkton. The starter had reportedly chosen the Phillies in part because he did not want to pitch in the AL.

A logjam already exists in the starting rotation in Charm City, as Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez will re-join Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman this week. Ubaldo Jimenez (ankle) is slated to return closer to August and the Orioles have not ruled out returning to a six man rotation. Acquiring Burnett or another starter before July 31 would leave the Birds with difficult roster decisions to make. Gonzalez and Chen would seem to be the most likely candidates to be moved to the bullpen.

It is not known what the Phillies would be seeking in compensation for Burnett. Most reports have suggested the O’s would not be likely to part with Gausman or fellow former first round draft pick pitchers Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Other Orioles prospects who could potentially be interesting to the Phillies or another team looking to make a trade include pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Wright and Tim Berry; outfielder Dariel Alvarez and first baseman Christian Walker.

Burnett was roughed up in his most recent start, allowing six earned runs on ten hits and a walk over five innings in a loss to the Braves.

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