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.