The Kansas City Royals have discussed outfield prospect Wil Myers in trades for Tampa Bay Rays right-hander James Shields and Boston Red Sox lefty Jon Lester, according to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star.
Great idea. But who says Shields and Lester are equal?
True, their contracts are similar – Lester, 28, is owed $24.625 million through 2014, while Shields, 30, is owed $21 million. But Shields was the better pitcher last season, and has been an absolute beast for the past two years.
Lester, meanwhile, is coming off a career-high 4.82 ERA after four straight sub-3.50 seasons. His average fastball velocity of 92 mph in 2012 was the lowest it has been since ‘08, according to PitchFx data on Fangraphs.com. His cutter also declined in effectiveness, and in general, he was hit harder than before.
Some of Lester’s struggles might have resulted from poor luck – his .318 opponents’ batting average on balls in play was the fifth-highest in the AL, and his fielding-independent pitch