The Boston Red Sox do not look like the same team that won the World Series in 2013. Make excuses all you want, but this is a last place organization equally as capable of losing 10 straight games as they are winning 10 in a row. Thankfully, with the addition of extra wild card spots as well as a fairly inconsistent American League East, the Red Sox are still very much alive for a playoff berth. With that being said, it is still too early to determine whether Boston will be a buyer or seller at the MLB Trade Deadline, although rumors are surfacing that the Red Sox have at least been checking in with the Philadelphia Phillies in regard to starting pitcher Cole Hamels. Of course, one has to question what it would mean for disgruntled ace Jon Lester if the Red Sox were to acquire Hamels from the Phils?
It comes as no surprise that the Red Sox are doing their due diligence when it comes to making improvements to a puzzling team. Hamels would make any team’s starting pitching rotation much better. What is a bit startling is that Lester has been the ace of the Red Sox staff for years now. He is one of the best pitcher’s in the game, and is having a fantastic season in his contract year. After a rather insulting offer made by Boston earlier this season, Lester decided to table all talks until after this season.
That, in itself is not news. Many players shelve contract extension talks until after the season, as they can create an unwanted distraction. But, in this case, is it not at least a bit strange that the Red Sox would only offer Lester a four-year deal worth $70 million, yet target a pitcher in Hamels who is still owed most of his six-year contract worth $144 million?
Jon Heyman reports that Hamels is owed roughly $106 million through the 2018 MLB season. That would still equate to a four plus year deal worth over $100 million, yet the Red Sox only offered Lester – a fan favorite who said he wants to stay in Boston so much that he would be willing to sign a hometown discount offer – roughly $30 million less than they would have to pay Hamels?
In 2014, Lester is 10-7 with a 2.50 ERA and 142 strikeouts. Hamels is just 4-5, but he sports a 2.83 ERA with 115 strikeouts for a last place Phillies squad. Over the past two seasons, Lester is 10 games above .500, while Hamels is seven games under the mark. That is not a knock against Hamels, as he has still pitched very well. He went 17-6 in 2012, and had an ERA of 2.79 the season before.
While Lester has had many seasons with an impressive win-loss record, he has yet to pitch a full season with an ERA under 3.21. Hamels has been under that mark five different seasons.
Could Boston acquire Hamels and also sign Lester to a long-term deal to form a quite dominant 1-2 punch? Sure. But I believe that the Sox are simply keeping tabs on Hamels, especially depending on which other teams are showing interest. I think that the only way that Boston trades for Hamels is that if they truly feel as if they have very little chance at retaining Lester past this season.