MLB Trade Rumors: Jon Lester Makes Perfect Sense for the Toronto Blue Jays

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIJuly 29, 2014

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays during the third inning of a baseball game Friday, July 25, 2014, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)
Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

With the nonwaiver trade deadline just around the corner, MLB trade rumors are swirling around at a furious pace. One such rumor that has gained a lot of momentum over the past few days is the potential dealing of Boston Red Sox ace Jon Lester.

With the Sox out of contention, it appears as though the team may be willing to move the impending free agent.

One team at the forefront of the Lester discussions? According to CSN New England's Sean McAdam, the Toronto Blue Jays are in hot pursuit of the southpaw.

He also mentions the fact that the Sox would be willing to move their ace within the AL East (though not to the New York Yankees, who would have the financial muscle to re-sign the Washington native).

Acquiring Lester makes sense on multiple fronts for the Jays.

First, there's the fact that McAdam mentions that the Baltimore Orioles are interested in adding Lester to their starting rotation.

Those same Orioles are just 2.5 games ahead of Toronto in the AL East entering Tuesday. Allowing the team you're in direct competition with for a division title to bring in one of the best left-handed pitchers in the game would be a major blow to your aspirations of winning the East.

Adding him to the Jays rotation would give them the legitimate ace the team needs and would also provide them with an upgrade on J.A. Happ as the team's second starting southpaw.

Lester would also be a great insurance policy should the club fail to win the division and end up playing in the Wild Card Game.

Imagine the Blue Jays secured the second wild-card position and had to square off against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the right to play in the ALDS.

Right now, there isn't a Jays starter who would have the baseball world believing they could win that matchup.

R.A. Dickey, Drew Hutchison and Happ are far too inconsistent and Mark Buehrle's performance has fallen back to earth. Marcus Stroman has been sensational in his time as a starting pitcher, but he's a rookie with only 10 career starts under his belt.

Contrast them with the likes of Jered Weaver or Garrett Richards and an objective observer would have to give the Angels the edge on the mound—their lineup can also compete with Toronto's.

This is where Lester would make a huge difference for Toronto. In a do-or-die situation, having a bona fide ace who has pitched in the World Series could make all the difference in the world.

The other encouraging part of this potential deal for Lester is that it's a realistic acquisition for the Jays.

Not only is his contract for $13 million this season (over half of which has already elapsed), but he would be a rental-type player, meaning Toronto may only have to part with one top-tier prospect and one or two lesser ones.

If they can keep Aaron Sanchez, who has impressed in the bullpen, as well as Stroman, who's been lights out in the rotation, it should be a no-brainer for the Blue Jays' front office.

Any deal would likely have to include the organization's No. 1 prospect, Daniel Norris. That shouldn't be too much of a concern though, seeing as he's struggling since his promotion to Double-A New Hampshire and probably won't be ready to contribute until 2016—after Toronto's proverbial three-year window of contention.

If Toronto is serious about making a run in the playoffs, adding Lester to a rotation already comprised of a reliable Buehrle, the up-and-coming Stroman and one-time ace Dickey is a necessity.


Jon Reid is a contributor for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @JonReidCSM.