November 18, 2014

#Cardinals allegedly looking at Jon Lester

Jon Lester, the next
St. Louis Cardinal?
First, I have to say "allegedly," because it's Jim Bowden of ESPN making this claim, that the Cardinals and GM John Mozeliak are looking at free agent lefty Jon Lester, via a "source" who hasn't talked to anybody at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and, from what Baseball-Reference tells me, hasn't talked to St. Louis teevee or radio, either.

This is the Jim Bowden who discovered his personal version of the Peter Principle by falling upward from being a baseball GM to working at the Great Red Satan, after all

That said, is it possible? Yes, indeed.

(Update, Nov. 19: The Sawks have made an (initial?) offer of 6 years, reportedly $110-120M. They've come off their "no long term" stance, well above the midyear 2013 of 4 years, and $70M.)

Let's start by clearing up a bunch of factual crapola from Drew Silva at Hardball Talk, which is where I saw the Bowden claim.

Namely, the Cards do NOT have six legit starters.

Marco Gonzales began 2014 in AA at Springfield. He needs to begin 2015 at AAA in Memphis and spend a full season there. He was an emergency call-up last year.

Carlos Martinez has not (yet) proven himself to be a legitimate starter. In part, that's because he hasn't had a lot of opportunity to do so, but that's not the point. The point is that he isn't a legit starter now and Silva's wrong for claiming that.

And, while he's legit, John Lackey struggled a bit after coming over from Boston, and his contract expires after this year. And, he's five years older than Lester.

Adam Wainwright,
about to get a
co-ace in St. Louis?
Otherwise, Shelby Miller was of course traded in the deal earlier this week for Jason HeywardAdam Wainwright just had (minor, we hope) elbow surgery and Michael Wacha's shoulder condition won't be better known until spring training approaches.

Actually, if one notes that Lester is two years younger than Waino, and has had less in the way of arm problems, kicking the tires on him, with the added advantage of him being a lefty, isn't a bad idea at all. Except for having just 190 innings in 2011, Lester has had at least 200 regular-season innings in every year he's pitched since becoming a full-season member of the Sawks.

I like the possibility — if, as always, the price is right.

I'd go above the four years that Boston offered Lester in the regular season last year, but no more than five — while maybe tacking on a mutual option year for year six.

Price? I wouldn't go much above $25M a year, if I'm going more than four years. Because I have to extend Lance Lynn (not just one arbitration year, Mo, but, say 4/$55 for his three arb years plus first year of free agency) and look at inking Heyward.

And, don't you have to give Waino a bit of bump on his contract to keep him happy? Maybe add $2.5M/year to boost it to $22M and add one option year to it?

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