Red Sox Trade Rumors: Boston Smart Not to Move Jon Lester

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2012

BOSTON, MA - June 22:  Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of the game at Fenway Park on June 22, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

The sky has been falling on Boston since the end of last season, as the Red Sox have struggled in 2012 due to all the injuries they have suffered. One of the biggest sources of frustration for the team has been Jon Lester, who currently boasts a 5.46 ERA and 1.46 WHIP in 120.1 innings. 

Yet for all of Lester's problems this season, Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston reported that the Red Sox are not going to trade the 28-year-old lefty before the July 31 trade deadline. 

Teams hoping the Boston Red Sox might be willing to part with left-hander Jon Lester are advised to look elsewhere.

Despite his disappointing performance, the Red Sox will not trade Lester, a major league source said Wednesday, further reinforcing the team's decision to push for a playoff spot in 2012.

As obvious as this might seem because Lester's value has never been lower, there was never a good reason for the Red Sox to even entertain the notion of dealing him. 

Prior to the start of the 2009 season, Lester signed a five-year contract extension through the 2013 season and it includes an option year for 2014 at $13 million. Even though Lester does not look like himself this season, he is still just 28 years old. 

Plus, for all the problems that Lester has had this season, there are obvious reasons to be optimistic about him bouncing back next year. His .332 BABIP is nearly 30 points higher than his career mark of .302. His home run rate has been unusually high (1.20) despite a ground-ball rate (47.2) that is roughly in line with his career mark (47.7). 

Another factor to consider is what the Red Sox have to plug into their rotation if they were to deal Lester. Their biggest problem this year has been lack of depth in the starting rotation. They need all the arms they can get, so it wouldn't make sense to trade one for something else. 

Red Sox fans may not want to hear this, but this could easily turn into a lost year—though they are hardly out of it, being just five games out of the wild card.

If the front office feels that 2013 will be their best chance to contend, they need to look toward putting the best team on the field next season. Even with his struggles this season, Lester should absolutely be part of that plan.