Pirates Have Expressed Interest in Jon Lester and Jason Vargas

As per Nick Cafardo’s Sunday column in the Boston Globe, Jon Lester has “been on the Pirates’ radar” along with the usual suspects of Zack Greinke, Cole Hamels, Matt Garza, and Ryan Dempster.  Carfardo goes on to say that, “It doesn’t appear the Sox would deal unless they got exceptional value back, and it doesn’t appear the Pirates would part with pitching prospect Gerrit Cole, whom the Sox would want.”

Lester, 28, is a left-hander that has a triple pitching slash line in 2012 over 112 IP of 4.49 ERA/3.58 FIP/3.61 xFIP, good for a 2.5 WAR to this point.  As you can see, he may be getting a tad unlucky, as his ERA is 0.91 runs above his FIP.  His K/9 rate is down significantly in the last couple of years — from 9.74 in 2010 to 7.53 in 2012.

With Cole being the price, I would file this one under “kicking the tires” for now.

In the same column, Cafardo says the Pirates have also inquired about Jason Vargas with the Mariners.  Vargas, 29, and also a left-hander, has had a different shape of a triple slash line than Lester in 2012 over 126 IP.  His line of 4.07 ERA/4.86 FIP/4.31 xFIP (0.4 WAR) may belie a regression in the future.

Vargas is a more likely trade candidate, as the Mariners are far out of the race, and entering his final year of arbitration at the end of the year.  Vargas makes $4.85M in 2012.  Lester makes $7.625M in 2012, $11.625M in 2013, and has a club option in 2014 for $13M ($250K buyout).

Author: Kevin Creagh

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  • http://twitter.com/BuccoInc Bucco Inc

    NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • VtTom

    Cole for Lester? Hey Red Sox, how about the rights to Appel for Lester.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

    That’s the most outrageous trade idea. Lol. Give us one of the top 2 or 3 pitching prospects in the game that should be ready next year for a guy you’ll have control of for a year and a half. I’d tell them I’d take their cancer patient and give them Alderson and maybe a guy like victor black.

    • Kevin_Creagh

      Ix-nay the ancer-cay cracks next time, please.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=72405411 Ian Rothermund

        I realize it was kind of in poor taste, but that would be an even poorer business decision if this guy is a ticking time bomb of relapse. However, I feel much more comforted after hearing the Neil Huntington show today…as I don’t see either of Taillon or Cole going anywhere for any reason. Him saying that not signing Appel did very little to affect their position on trading their top pitching prospects was a very encouraging sign.

  • Lee Young

    But wouldn’t it be cool to have Lester AND Burnett pitching vs the Yankees in the World Series?

  • http://twitter.com/scott_klima Scott BUCN Klima

    Vargas makes zero sense. He’s not a serious upgrade over Correia or Bedard. Rather just bring Owens or Locke up for a shot if needed.

  • http://twitter.com/Sammy_Henz Sam Henzler

    Bedard and Correia suck, to put it in the nicest terms. I was thinking, like everybody else, why they wouldn’t bring Owens, Locke, or Wilson up. Today on 93.7 The Fan, they said that the front office is making the moves that best fit the team, so obviously, Bedard and Correia are better off , for now. I say get a rental pitcher now, along with either Upton, Victorino (hoping he could get re-signed), or a rental outfielder, then spend a ton on free agents. Let’s say they get a rental hitter and pitcher at the deadline, neither of them re-sign, we still have options. I doubt that Hamilton, Wright, Melky, McCann, Cano, and Granderson will be options, but maybe Nick Swisher, Michael Bourn, Delmon Young, Carlos Lee, or Mike Napoli could be options. Rod Barajas is a free agent, and I’d like him to come back, but he isn’t a good enough catcher to lead a playoff team, and I don’t think McKenry is yet. The catching market looks strong, so if they miss out on Napoli, I think either Shoppach, Martin, or Ianetta are the best options. I think Barajas will be back though. For a hitter, I can see Napoli in a Pirates jersey, but I think he’s a total bust. I can see Swisher playing here, or Young, or Lee. I think a 2 year, $15.5MM deal could get Swisher. For pitchers, I like Dan Haren, Edwin Jackson, Marcum, Jonathan Sanchez, James Shields, Colby Lewis, or Joe Saunders. I think Marcum, Jackson, and Lewis are the best options here. Let’s say they over pay for Marcum (a guy who really knows the NL Central) 2 years $11MM. Let’s also say they sign a De La Rosa type to a minor league deal. That improves a lot without over paying. The rotation is set (McDonald, Burnett, Karstens, Marcum, and either De La Rosa, Cole, Owens/Locke) and a great line-up, with or without Upton. We could also use a TRUE lead off hitter in LF (Pierre, Pagan, Sizemore)
    1.) Pierre/Pagan/Marte/or Sizemore LF
    2.) Walker 2B
    3.) McCutchen CF
    4.) Swisher/Upton RF
    5.) McGehee 1B
    6.) Alvarez 3B
    7.) McKenry/Barajas C
    8.) Barmes SS
    9.) Pitcher
    OR
    1.) Walker 2B
    2.) Swisher/Upton RF
    3.) McCutchen CF
    4.) Jones LF
    5.) McGehee 1B
    6.) Alvarez 3B
    7.) McKenry/Barajas C
    8.) Barmes SS
    9.) Pitcher
    With a DH
    1.) Pierre/Pagan/Marte/Sizemore LF
    2.) Walker 2B
    3.) McCutchen CF
    4.) Swisher/Upton RF
    5.) Jones DH
    6.) Alvarez 3B
    7.) McGehee 1B
    8.) McKenry/Barajas C
    9.) Barmes SS