In thinking about potential off-season trades to acquire starting pitching, I've been tossing around the notion of trying to peel Jon Lester away from the Red Sox in exchange for Kelly Shoppach and Gutz/Francisco. With Lester starting against us tonight, I thought I'd throw this out there.
I have no idea whether the BoSox would even consider trading Lester, and there are certainly ways in which it wouldn't be the best of trades for the Tribe, but there are ways in which it makes sense as well.
Why The Red Sox Might Like the Deal:
-Boston has a real need for a catcher, as Varitek's contract is up, and a right-handed power hitter like Kelly should be a good fit for Fenway and the Monster. Shoppach would constitute a way to cut some serious salary for the Beaneaters.
-Their present OF situation looks less than desirable to me. I don't know much about their depth in the minors, but a quick glance at their 40-man doesn't exactly give the impression that they're particularly deep. Ellsbury is a base-stealing machine, but is OPSing only .712, with an OBP of .331. He's only walked about 7% of the time. It doesn't look like they're counting on Coco to be an every day guy either. Gutz could get some starts in CF, at the very least. They have Bay and Drew in the corners, which figures to be a pretty solid offensive situation, but Gutz or Francisco could be upgrades over backups. In any event, Shoppach would obviously be the centerpiece of any deal
Why The Indians Would Like the Deal:
-Lester is coming off of what may be a breakout year, and might be just the kind of young, cheap, but somewhat established starter with long term potential the Indians would like.
Why The Indians Wouldn't Like the Deal
-Lester is left-handed. Obviously given the rest of their rotation options, the Indians would prefer to acquire a righty if possible.
-Lester is coming off of what is perceived as a breakout year. It would not exactly be buying low for the Tribe.
-We'd prefer not to have to trade Shoppach. It's unclear how much Victor will be able to catch next year, and the other catching options for the Tribe are a ways from hitting the bigs
Again, this may be a silly thing to discuss, since Lester may be untouchable. I don't know much about the Red Sox pitching depth, and it seems fairly likely that trading Lester for Shoppach to fill a catching hole would simply open up a gaping pitching hole. Beckett and Dice-K are under control for a couple more years, and Wakefield is Boston's perpetual slave boy (though who knows how much longer he'll pitch), but Schilling and Byrd are free agents, and Buchholz is perhaps a question mark, though he has pitched well in the minors since going down.