Would you trade Lester for Santana?

Rob Bradford
August 22, 2008 - 2:36 am
Woke up this morning and this thought popped into my head -- is it so ridiculous to suggest the Red Sox would not trade Jon Lester straight-up for Johan Santana. First we can go to the numbers: Santana has a 2.75 ERA compared to Lester's 3.17. Santana is 11-7, while Lester is 12-4. (I know, wins are reliant on other factors, but it has gone beyond a coincidence that the Sox lefty has a knack for winning.) Santana has pitched 177 innings while Lester has gone 167.2. Santana, 20 homers allowed, with Lester surrendering 12. Walks: Santana 46, Lester 51.  Now comes some biggies ... Santana 29 years-old, and Lester is 24. Lester makes $425,500 and will be under the Sox control for at least another three seasons. Santana's five-year commitment to New York is costing slightly more. (For this season alone, "slightly" equals $17 million). My argument is that you have a pitcher who you control at short money putting put the same sort of performance as the off-season's be-all, end-all. That and I still believe committing five years to a starting pitcher, no matter who the hurler, would require an addendum to the Red Sox' mission statement.  I think I'm locked in on this ... they wouldn't trade Lester for Johan. Your thoughts? Elsewhere, Hank is offering a reminder: You better be ready. The Yankees are fading, fading, fading into the American League East sunset, with Hank Steinbrenner chiming in via a Sporting News column. He writes: "Most of the national media is full of Yankee haters ... That's why I have to point out the injuries. Because the media sweep that under the rug and say we're playing poorly ... But next year, in a new stadium, we'll be much better." So which part of that stands out? Is it the bit about the press, which led the New York Post to splash the headline "Hank: Media Hate Yankees"? Nope. It is the stadium part. Everybody understood the ramifications of the Yankees entering their new stadium, a point Red Sox principal owner John Henry admitted to eyeing in a story I did last summer. But what now we have the potential Perfect Storm of frivolous financial fanaticism. You have a Yankees team will be entering its new digs wearing the stink of this season's poor performance. Hank, injury excuse or no, isn't going to let that happen again. Or at least he's going to do what he thinks has to be done to not let that happen again. The success of the Yanks', and more specifically, GM Brian Cashman's, quest to build like the Red Sox have done, through their own system, was largely identified by those players being bandied about in the Johan Santana trade rumors. Well, Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes, and Melky Cabrera have all been introduced to the Scranton Wilkes-Barre rotary (who knows, maybe there is one) a whole bunch more than New York would have liked. The Sox professed pieces of the puzzle? Lester (perhaps), Justin Masterson, Jacoby Ellsbury (perhaps), and Jed Lowrie. It's not working out quite as the Yankees have planned. And when their first-round pick, Gerrit Cole, chose to head to UCLA instead of inking with New York (while the Red Sox were paying out $10 million to their draft picks) a hazy message was sent. Once that first luxury box is opened, the message from Hank's checkbook will be crystal clear.  The deferential Hank is leaving the building. Also, check out Alex Speier's story on Jed Lowrie's path to becoming a switch-hitter. This is the kind of stuff we love. It will be up on our site shortly.