BOSTON (CBS) — With the Red Sox dropping three of four in Toronto, their playoff hopes are all but dead. So that makes the rest of the season very interesting, especially with the trade deadline less than a week away.
Joe Sheehan from Sports Illustrated and the Joe Sheehan Baseball Newsletter joined Thursday night’s The Adam Jones Show on 98.5 The Sports Hub to discuss the Sox the rest of the way, beginning with Jon Lester. There hasn’t been much momentum in striking a new deal for the ace left-hander, with talks tabled according to the Boston front office. Sheehan doesn’t think Boston should trade Lester before the July 31 deadline, but he says it will be a problem this winter if they let Lester hit free-agency.
“The issue is that Lester is going to be the second guy. Max Scherzer is the No. 1 guy on this market, so whatever he gets sets the market,” said Sheehan. “Are we talking about 7-years, $175 million for a guy like Scherzer, so does that make Lester 6-years-$140 million? There is so much money in the game, and the teams who have it are so motivated. If they let Lester hit the market, Lester is probably going to make 20-30 percent more than what he’d get in an extension right now.”
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With teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees constantly looking to add high-quality players, and neither having any issue giving out boatloads of money, one of those teams could offer Lester a lucrative contract that might be too much to pass up. Another candidate to land Lester is the Detroit Tigers, who could lose Scherzer in free agency, and would immediately look to find someone capable of replacing him.
The discussion moved on to Xander Boegarts, who is struggling in his first full major league season since his move to third base. There have been debates over what position fits him best, but Sheehan believes the Sox should keep Boegarts at shortstop until he shows he isn’t capable of handling those defensive responsibilities.
“I would leave him at shortstop until Deven Marrero forces this issue. The second they decide they’re not playing for this season, they have to move him back to shortstop. Every inning he doesn’t play at short is one less inning they’re learning about him,” said Sheehan. “He was basically an average to average-minus shortstop — he was mistake prone, but he’s also 21-years-old. The athleticism was there, the numbers weren’t that bad, and the offense was going to carry that.
“If Bogaerts is a minus-five guy, meaning he costs you five runs per year at shortstop, the offense blows that away and you have to leave him at shortstop,” he said. “Leave him at shortstop until he forces you to move him.”