Here’s one that I guess actually makes sense, but still seems like a total long shot and quite possibly bullshit: according to Sean McAdam of CSN New England, of the many teams calling the Red Sox on Jon Lester, the Jays might be the one that’s most aggressive.
St. Louis, Seattle, Baltimore and the Los Angeles Dodgers are widely thought to be in on Lester, but industry sources say the Red Sox also have received interest from another handful of clubs, led by Milwaukee, Atlanta, Oakland and Toronto.
Of those, a source indicated, Toronto has been the most aggressive in its interest.
With Lester a short-term rental — he’s eligible for free agency after the season — the Red Sox won’t be dissuaded from trading him within the division, although that willingness doesn’t extend to the rival New York Yankees.
Sometimes these things… I don’t know. I mean, how do you even judge who is being the most aggressive, right? Especially when the piece says that no specific proposals have been made yet. We know that the Jays aren’t going to acknowledge anything, but I have a hard time believing that anybody would need so badly to bluff interest in Lester in order to drive up the price. Maybe, though. Maybe one could even dream up some backwards logic that the Jays themselves have reason to make someone think they’re heavily interested. I don’t know.
If they’re serious, though, it’s interesting. Even if there is no obvious candidate to remove from the rotation, there is no team that couldn’t use an upgrade like Lester, so I’m sure our hypothetical Jays could make this work from an on-field standpoint.
But then there’s the money — Lester is owed $4.3-million for the rest of this season, at which point he becomes a free agent (and because he’s been (hypothetically) traded, doesn’t bring back a pick for his new club — and also the cost in terms of other “resources.”
McAdam writes that the Red Sox are looking to add at least one “elite” prospect in the package they receive for the rental, suggesting that they’re dreaming big on a guy like Oscar Tavares of the Cardinals or either Joc Pederson or Corey Seager of the Dodgers. The Jays would have a hard time competing with packages from those clubs headlined by names like that, but I can’t honestly imagine the cost being quite so steep. It will be steep, though, and you really have to wonder if the Jays will have the stomach to deal another blow to their farm system for a rental. Maybe that’s exactly why they’re supposedly being aggressive now? Knowing that once other teams get in they’re going to fade into the background?
I mean, a guy like this represents a great opportunity for the club, but intra-division trades remain tough. Especially when the Jays would, hypothetically, be exchanging several years of service on prospects for mere months of Lester. And it’s not a Jeff Kent/David Cone situation either, where they can soften the psychic blow with the knowledge the youngster they’re dealing is blocked by a Hall Of Famer anyway.
I really don’t know here. Did I mention that? I’ll believe this when I see it.