With Thursday’s MLB trade deadline quickly approaching, contending teams have been afforded as much time as possible to determine if a “rental” player is worth acquiring. Since both pitchers are performing admirably this season, Jon Lester and David Price’s, ahem, prices are largely distinguished by the extra year of team control for Price. Lester, on the other hand, is a free agent at year’s end and is analyzed by (1) how much he costs to acquire and (2) how much better he makes the team for the rest of the year. A third consideration, his financial cost, is mostly negligible for 2014 if the acquiring team makes the playoffs. Though both are squarely on the hot stove, Lester is a different acquisition than Price.
Jon Lester is in the midst of a career season. With 4.6 WAR, the left-hander is a top target at the MLB trade deadline for a handful of teams. David Price has been worth 3.7 WAR, good for eighth best in baseball to date. If asked who’s the better pitcher, my answer would have been David Price up until last week when Baseball Prospectus’ Harry Pavlidis (HarryPav) suggested the opposite. Turns out the Brooks Baseball maven was right and ROTOscouting’s piece idea of Price to the Cubs for a bounty of young positional talent made little sense given the ability for Chicago to sign Lester as a free agent and keep its young talent.
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