Friday, December 5, 2014

Jon Lester Really an Upgrade over Brandon McCarthy?

First and foremost I want to start by saying that the rumors and the fake information that is running around on Twitter right now is absolutely ridiculous. It seems like every 14 year old kid who claims to be an MLB "insider" can post whatever nonsense they want without credibility or any truth (or repercussions) whatsoever. I apologize for all those who have nothing better to do with their time and their lives then to make up fake rumors on Twitter to get us, the true fans, up in arms excited or mad. With that said one of the rumors I've read and reported on yesterday was that the Yankees were making a late and significant push for free agent starting pitcher Jon Lester. Immediately I was excited and then I got thinking whether he would truly be an upgrade over Brandon McCarthy or just another bad contract we're having to work around in three or four years.

I found it interesting to compare these two specifically because Max Scherzer and James Shields far exceed these two in WAR and come with draft pick compensation attached. Both McCarthy and Lester were traded mid-season and their teams were unable to extend qualifying offers to the players. Also it gives a nice and equal sample size of stats such as WAR with their new clubs to take a look at and analyze.

McCarthy posted a 1.6 WAR with New York after coming over from the Arizona Diamondbacks while Lester posted a 1.9 WAR with Oakland. It is worth mentioning that McCarthy had almost a full month worth of starts in New York before Boston traded Lester to Oakland for Yoenis Cespedes and others making what Lester did all that more impressive. Lester also posted a 2.7 WAR with Boston before the trade while McCarthy struggled with a -0.5 WAR with Arizona. I am willing to throw out Lester's time with Boston only because McCarthy was a different pitcher after coming to New York which begs the question, how much of an upgrade would Lester be with comparable WAR numbers in half a season?

Lester is the better pitcher, no one would argue that, and throws from the left side which could neutralize some of the bigger threats in the AL East but how much better is he? Lester is probably getting  in excess of $20 million a season for at least six or seven seasons while I would be surprised to see McCarthy eclipse a three year deal and $15 million annually. The Yankees don't need their next bad contract they need consistency and while I agree with shoring up run prevention if you can't add to run production I think Lester may be excessive for, theoretically, another win or two per season. With that said the Yankees should just sign McCarthy and hope for the best with the development of Luis Severino and Manny Banuelos.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)