The defending World Series Champion Red Sox have thrown in the towel and are ready to make a deal which could propel a contender into the driver’s seat for a World Series title. But which team will be the favorite in your MLB World Series odds?
Time to Sell
It seems like forever ago that the lost summer of Boston baseball was suddenly found and the Red Sox were ready to shake off a season long funk of defeat and despair. The front office brass realized they had made an eight million dollar mistake and cast asunder veteran malcontent A.J. Pierzynski in order to make room for the future in the name of catcher Christian Vazquez. On July 9th, their first game without the doleful Pierzynski on their roster, the Sox upended the White Sox 5-4 and went on a roll that saw them win eight of nine which was capped off by a thunderous offensive explosion that led to them steamrolling the Blue Jays 14-1.
Boston sports talk shows were abuzz and suddenly people were talking about the Boys of Summer once again. There was finally hope in what many thought was a lost season and battling through the dog days of summer was going to be fun again. The Red Sox front office found themselves in a holding pattern, deciding whether to become sellers or buyers. Were they contenders or simply pretenders? The July 31st trade deadline was looming and General Manager Ben Cherington needed to chart a course towards building for this season or next.
Only time would tell and it finally did when the Sox fell back to earth having now lost five of their last six with their latest defeat last night by the score of 14-1 to the Blue Jays. It is of course ironic that their winning streak culminated in a 14-1 victory over their AL East rivals only to see their season’s nadir manifest by the identical score to the identical team. And now it’s time to sell.
The first domino fell last week when the Sox dealt hard luck pitcher Jake Peavy to the Giants for a pair of minor leaguers. But that was simply the appetizer. Boston has one of the most prized entrees available for the highest bidder in Jon Lester. Before the season started Lester publically stated he was willing to take a hometown discount in order to remain with the Red Sox once his contract expired at the end of this season. But the Red Sox believed they were now going to get a Mercedes Benz for the price of a high end Kia. Contract talks broke down and Lester will walk at the end of this season unless the Red Sox want to offer a 30-year-old pitcher five or six years at about $24 million a pop. Boston brass felt the sting of huge money contracts a few years ago and was able to get the Dodgers to take all that payroll off their hands when they dealt Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to LA. They are therefore reluctant to sign anyone to nine figure deals and that obviously includes Lester.
How would Lester affect the MLB Odds?
The Sox will be looking for prospects – high end prospects – for Lester. Naturally they will try to avoid sending him to an American league team where they can be reminded of this deal on a regular basis with Lester mowing down their lineup for the next four to five years. The LA Dodgers could be a destination and at current MLB odds of +650 to win the World Series, the addition of Lester as their number two behind Kershaw would send those odds plummeting to something along the lines of 4-1.
Perhaps the Brewers will look to deal for Lester and their current odds of 16-1 could look downright generous if they had a southpaw of Lester’s quality at the top of their rotation. Let’s not forget too that veteran hurler John Lackey is available as is reclamation project Clay Buchholz if someone wanted to take the chance. The crystal ball will get much clearer in a few days when the deadline closes so keep an eye on those MLB odds and if you have a hunch where Lester may end up, bet that team now in your MLB picks.