Jon Lester's name has popped up in trade rumors off and on since the end of the season. He has not been anywhere near one of the hottest rumors on the hot stove this offseason, but it is possible the Boston Red Sox could trade him. However, John Tomase of the Boston Herald suggests that would be a bad move.
Lester has been a workhorse for the Red Sox. That obviously isn't the end-all, be-all reason to keep a pitcher. It's worth something though. Lester has tossed 190 or more innings for five straight seasons. He avoided the disabled list in 2012 altogether, spent a short time on the DL in 2011, and has been relatively healthy his entire career. Healthy is also worth something. The Red Sox need all the help they can get, and having healthy player who will be on the field is important.
However, most people seem to be overlooking Lester's success in Boston says Tomase. He points out that Lester is in pretty good company when looking at his numbers historically.
It turns out he’s one of only a dozen pitchers in history to reach 60 wins, a 3.50 ERA, and 8 K/9 at those ages, and the ensuing careers of the other 11 suggest he’s a much better bet to bounce back than we’re giving him credit for.Who are the other 11 pitchers to match those numbers? Nolan Ryan, Sam McDowell, Pedro Martinez, Sandy Koufax, Roger Clemens, Tim Lincecum, Johan Santana, Mario Soto, and Jim Maloney. The majority of the pitchers on this list are or were stars. And each of them had their down years. It seems people in Boston are being too quick in their desire to write of Lester altogether.
The Red Sox have done a solid job rebuilding their tattered franchise this offseason. Keeping Lester around will probable be key to their success. The team still needs pitching help, so dealing a guy who has a career 3.76 ERA in Boston does not seem smart. Lester is not eligible for free agency until 2014, so the Red Sox can evaluate him during the season this year, and if they are convinced he won't help them, they can deal him at the trade deadline. But as Tomase points out, don't be surprised if you see a bounce-back year for Lester in 2013.