Somewhere, deep within the subterraneans of the Oakland Coliseum Billy Beane is furiously squeezing a stress ball in one hand while compulsively fiddling with his smart phone in the other. The inner mechanics of his mind working overtime to figure someway, anyway to acquire arguably the most coveted starting pitcher left on the trade market – Boston left-hander Jon Lester.
At least this is how I choose to picture it.
Adding to fuel to the fire, is the recent revelation that Lester has been scratched from tomorrow’s planned start while the embers of speculation continue to percolate around him. While Boston’s demands of top tiered prospects such as Joc Pederson and Corey Seager of the Dodgers, Josh Bell of the Pirates, and Oscar Taveras of the Cardinals continue to be banded around – it’s somewhat difficult to see what the Athletics have to offer. With elite prospect Addison Russell already used as bait, I’m not entirely sure Oakland has a consensus number one prospect at this point, and they definitely don’t have the caliber of future stars that Boston is certainly looking to exchange for the free agent to be.
Sure, hypothetically Oakland could package say some combination of their incubator’s finest with Drew Pomeranz or Jesse Chavez and possibly Ben Cherington wouldn’t make a joke about shoddy reception and hangup. In my mind’s eye, Oakland would obtain the southpaw and showcase the premier rotation since the heyday of the 90′s Atlanta Braves and the firm of Lester, Samardzija, Gray and Kazmir would riot and pillage through the postseason bringing a trophy back to Oakland.
For now, Oakland appears to be at best – a dark horse for the 30-year old All-Star. In the midst of a another stellar season, Lester has shined in a nightmare season for Boston posting a 2.52 ERA (155 ERA+), 1.12 WHIP and 149 strikeouts against 32 walks in 143 innings pitched this season. A sure bet to secure lucrative contract this winter, Lester would be the ultimate rental for a team with great expectations.
Expectations of course are healthy. So are dreams, and we can all dream.