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Ask Nick: Should Red Sox trade Jon Lester?

Posted by Matt Pepin, Boston.com Staff  July 10, 2013 02:15 PM

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Were the Red Sox in the hunt to sign Yasiel Puig when he was available?
Chris, South Boston
Yes. They didnít want to get into the $40 million range with him so they dropped out.

What will it take before the Sox realize that Mike Napoli is more liability than asset? I went to the final game in Anaheim and saw up close and personal the body language and how the other infielders react to Napoli as he throws them grounders between innings. He is practically lifeless and was actually ignored. I think he's basically collecting a paycheck and going through the motions. People talk about Papi getting lots of free passes because he's so dangerous. He's getting free passes because the opposition sees Napoli for what he is: A strikeout waiting to happen. Do the Red Sox/Farrell not see this?
Dana, Los Angeles
I hope youíre not basing your opinion of Napoli after seeing him one game in person. Teammates really like him. Heís having a tough stretch right now and they need him to pick it up and perform as he did early in the season. Heís certainly not just going through the motions as you say. The opposition may see him as a strikeout waiting to happen, but they should also see him as a player who has 56 RBI. Heís been up and down. The strikeouts drive everyone crazy, including himself, but donít ignore his potential to drive in runs. In that area, the statistics show heís done the job.

There seems to be a lot of discrepancies between what the umpires are calling this year compared to what the Amica pitch zone indicates (on television). Is it the umpires or the Amica pitch zone?
Charlie, Lincoln, Del.
Great question. An umpire supervisor (the ones who evaluate umpires on a daily basis) told me the Amica pitch zone is not accurate and that fans get too hung up on it. He said the Amica box doesnít give an accurate read of a ball or strike as the ball passes through the zone.

I have not heard much about Daniel Bard lately. What is the latest with him? Will he ever pitch in the majors again?
Tony, Jupiter, Fla.
Getting ready to pitch again in Fort Myers, Fla., after healing from an abdominal strain.

Do you think the Red Sox will move third baseman Garin Cecchini to left or right field? His presence at the plate reminds me of Joe Mauer. For a young guy, he has excellent command of the strike zone and he just hits the ball hard to all fields. I think it would be a big mistake to move him.
Marc, Heathsville, Va.
I havenít heard about a positional change for him yet, but that could happen. They have some third base depth, so Xander Bogaerts could wind up at third as well. They love his bat, so they want to make sure he plays somewhere and is a part of the Red Soxí future.

After wondering what former Red Sox Dirt Dog Trot Nixon was up to these days, I took a look at his Wikipedia page, and he is apparently the host of a local cable show in Wilmington, NC, doing football highlights. Have the Sox tried reaching out to him to bring him back into the organization at all? I just feel like he'd be especially good at mentoring young up-and-coming players about how to play the game "the right way."
Brian, Waltham
Just raising his family in North Carolina. See him up at Fenway now and then. Haven't heard about him coming to be a special instructor at spring training or anything like that. I donít think he wants that life right now.

Should the Red Sox trade Drew and bring Middlebrooks back up? I say yes.
Steve, Albuquerque, NM
Drew needs to show he can stay healthy before anyone deals for him. So the answer is no for now.

Seems like pitchers are catching on that Ortiz is the only power threat (with Middlebrooks at AAA) in the lineup, and have walked him a ton. I know the Sox are looking for a third baseman, but Michael Young would be yet another powerless player. What are your thoughts on trading for Aramis Ramirez, Trevor Plouffe, or even Chase Headley?
Ryan, Sharon
As I wrote earlier, the Red Soxí future third base situation is very encouraging so they donít need any permanent third base solution. If they can pick up Young, that would be ideal for them. Ramirez makes $16 million next year. Headley isnít having a good year and youíd have to give up a lot to acquire him and then have to worry about signing him when he becomes a free agent after 2014. Again, you have players who are probably going to be better than Headley in Bogaerts and Middlebrooks.

With Allen Webster, Rubby De La Rosa, Matt Barnes, Henry Owens, Anthony Ranaudo, and Brandon Workman, the Red Sox seem to have six pitchers who all have at least No. 3 starter potential who should be ready in the next 1-2 years. I know there's no such thing as too much pitching, but with Doubront, Buchholz, and Lackey all under control for several more years, there's definitely not room for all of them in the rotation. How do you think they'll handle giving all of these guys their shot, and which of those prospects have the best chance of sticking around in Boston long-term?
JD, Connecticut
Those six guys havenít proven a lick yet so itís tough to project that far ahead. If theyíre good, theyíll push guys out and theyíll either let pitchers like Lester and Buchholz go as free agents or deal them, but weíre jumping the gun a tad. Of those six, how many will actually be good major league pitchers? Iím gonna guess three or four of them and thatís being generous.

Middlebrooks is tearing it up in the minors and it's decision time. Is it time to try and move Drew?
Jeff, Fairfield Maine
I donít think itís decision time on Middlebrooks. They want to keep him down there for a while. The team likes Drew quite a bit, so Iím not sure theyíre in a hurry to move him. By end of this month they may start to formulate some thoughts about this. But they can always trade Drew in August .

The Red Sox need bullpen help and Brian Wilson remains unsigned. Would he even be ready to pitch this year and would the Red Sox take a chance on him?
Mike, McAdoo, Pa.
Thereís been very little word on whether heís ready to pitch yet. If he were, Iím sure the Red Sox would have some interest, but he would need build-up and rehab starts, so heís not an immediate answer for them.

Why don't the Red Sox move Jose Iglesias up in the batting order to the lead off or No. 2 slot?
Al, Commack, NY
They donít want to put too much pressure on him. They like that ďsecondĒ leadoff man at the bottom of the order. Itís good thinking and itís worked out fine. Heís flourished. Why change that?

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