WEEI>On Demand>>The Bradfo Show: Rob Bradford, Alex Speier talk having to potentially replace Jon Lester

The Bradfo Show: Rob Bradford, Alex Speier talk having to potentially replace Jon Lester

May 16, 2014|

WEEI.com's Rob Bradford and Alex Speier explore the avenues the Red Sox may be forced to take if they do not re-sign Jon Lester. Speier offers updates regarding some of the Red Sox' top pitching prospects, such as Henry Owens, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo, Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman and Matt Barnes, while also engaging the conversation regarding what each pitcher's upside might be. The two also talk Lester, and the path he took to become the pitcher we now see.

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Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

It's nice easy and. -- things that interest. So I wish my -- it's. Just sit there and still. Episode of this and to be who would win and show. Cheers rob Bradford. Welcome to another addition of Brad -- shells. Some rob Bradford W yeah -- dot com IA opposed to this podcast today remotely. And but we as always sponsored by school district of clothing. There are doing literature you'll -- to provide our institutions. And a president who is in the podcast studio would be cool distinctive clothing of New England insurance. Podcast studio and Alex spear -- WTI dot com. Alex you sound so good why do wipe out so crappy. Well maybe it's because I may indeed be distinctive clothing podcast studio. They're -- they're very very few distinctive clothing podcasted -- in this world but fortunately we have water involvement that has put our podcast over the top. Another wildly successful week. Well Brad Rochelle podcast but we're gonna finish strong in the punctuated disparaged. And we're gonna do it by talking a little bit job last year Jon Lester obviously. Judge -- to backtrack first drop now -- talking about quote unquote punctuating this bitch I accepted that that's a nice life lesson for your children. -- but you talked about like drawing a little like a happy face sura hard over the -- and bitch or. But what's your what's your view of punctuating that bitch. I regular oil apologized for the profanity but my adrenaline get the better. And since then -- that usually happens is sort of podcast will be the last part yes we did a lot Bradford show. Was all about Jackie Bradley Afro the head I mean if nothing -- -- they elicits. Adrenaline is talking about. Talking with a guy who have cut is here two years yet -- -- the Brad boat show to tell the world there on Saturday night. You will be letting it all hang out and doing all Oscar gamble that's why my adrenaline -- fire and where is firing through my days right now Alex. So yeah so you're punctuating your punctuating the -- mentioned five letter word. Above BI may -- your drying like a little a little smiley face that has like its huge had a -- on it. Our country -- another exclamation. I'm going to. All right so let's get right to it to the topic of today's. Podcasts are the Brad for our show is -- topic that I wrote about earlier in the week and that is replacing Jon Lester. And might take away is that in the story in the column was that it it should be noted how difficult it might be to replace Jon Lester. I think accommodation the narrative has been. When looking at Jon -- future if you walk. Then well you have these other guys -- Henry go into the world you have along with two got there we're gonna talk about. In villages -- -- or you have played by a cold or you have John Lackey or you can you have Jake Peavy or maybe Felix abroad. But saw Lester has emergent is something that. It takes a long time -- And the first thing I wanna do talked to -- US Alex before we get into how could Jon Lester has become. It's if you could take me through the some of the names that I talked about those guys in the minor leagues. Keep me updated status quickly what each of them. And and kind of put in your mind where they are in regards to morphing into a Major League starting rotation. Sure well let's let's have you had -- different I guess. Do you want me to say when you view their. ETA is being very it would be a top of the rotation guy. This is -- the slower due to that we we don't know what they're going to be popular rotation -- and -- we can't say. As you sit here right now I love you would agree with me or not but there have been guys. In recent years to. Have gone from draft to a couple years later atop the rotation Michael -- I mean but this -- in the American League east. Bit bit the visit they are they art pop pop pop here draft picks. Not that makes all the difference in the world but a lot. Sonny Graham was taken one -- before Matt Barnes after all yeah. Yet yes yeah or exactly invited it saw him. So I guess what I wanna do is go to the guys real quick yeah well that's. Know what each of them everywhere they're out right now and then also told me in a perfect world in the way that they're trending. Powell what could they assimilate themselves into. Bob middle to top of rotation position. OK let's -- Henry Jones because he's the top Red Sox pitching prospects currently doing double -- Portland just had. The fifth outing the fifth start of his career the fifth start that he's had since last July in which he didn't give up any hits however this one was a four -- no hitter. -- because he walked five guys. Through basically you know fifty to 55% strikes on the day that that's kind of -- Henry Owens is that he borders on unhittable. I was with the kind of startling frequency. Even though he works mostly had. Let's say 89 to 91 sometimes -- 9293. He's his stuff. Is not -- is his changeup is really really good that's a very good Major League offering his fastball. Is average for the places better than that because of the difficulty picking up his curve balls a little bit inconsistent sometimes it's very good in what it is he's wow very -- -- -- but he's still is kind of working to refine his commands. His side he and he's going to have to be pretty precise with his command. While he's working in that 89 to 91 ranged. At the Major League level so. Timmy right now right now -- there's a chance that he could help at the end of this year I think that the greater likelihood is that he is that he would be kind of in position. To become -- kind of transition into a regular big league rotation spot sometime in the middle of next season. OK so -- -- W Mariane you're looking at Rio and like you said. Let's stay on the -- western track which is if Jon Lester leaves and -- acts would happen. And with stereo and if Jon Lester -- pep in your mind. The way that he's going right now you -- -- next here is your chance -- say had Rio and we can we can at least attempt to slot him into the rotation heading into next season or that it's jumping the gun. That is there's absolutely that possibility the Red Sox have done that before with clay -- to most notably when they committed to -- -- start 2008 that didn't go so well. Bob -- and that was LB -- kind of model for the progression of Henry Owens the Jon Lester model which is to use which is worth thinking about because like. Like Jon Lester Henry Jones was drafted out of high school. Is -- less term kind of became a -- any kind of graduated into the big league rotation in June. OK and I don't like it electoral a little bit later about his progression then. And why he's sitting -- where he's sitting at right now and how we get to that point is that it takes a while that's terrible -- this. The show -- is that it might take a little bit but Henry don't pay you might be in rotation next year. But still there's some progress to be made and Newton yeah Simon doesn't -- that Evernote have written out at an evolution to be had. We have had -- points. And we reclassified him I guess as the best example our best case of a guy best champs. Of a guy you filtering into toppled rotation. In his case I think it because of what the stuff is like I thought he doesn't have he doesn't have Jon Lester is -- -- doesn't have Jon Lester is cutter which at times Jon Lester is Carter in his career is being an eighty pitch on the twenty to eighty scouting scale. It really doesn't have an eighty pitch so you're looking at a guy with a lower ceiling than what Jon Lester has that person that doesn't mean a bad pitcher but I think they've. I've just starting to being the tends to tends to agree that. Henry Owens Henry Owens if he if he hits on his on what is kind of viewed as is likely ceiling would be and number three or number two starter. OK so there's one off the list and and we classifieds thing. And -- into the top. The -- Red Sox pitching prospect has stood the floor is pretty good -- leaving you know I based based on the fact that he just doesn't give up its. And how you know his his. Understanding of pitching. He's still looks like a Major League start her you know offense if he sort of that this command that he's probably like a number five number four starter. Well I think it's a perfect example war talking about Alex because at -- and so like you said you can have a very very good mentally career to be a very very good Major League pitcher but the -- Jon Lester has evolved. He's evolved into something more than just a very very good pitcher. Right now any comment on the mound right now of goals distinctive clothing. Are up -- insurance. -- absolute -- your. Purpose that's that's a good description the ceiling installer right because insurance is the floor it's protection you know that and please continue. And the object. And so there was number two who who's number two. -- number two you kind of have you have a little bit of a of of of a cluster I think teams in that and it keeps moving back and forth for me. As to who your rate is the second best Red Sox pitching prospect Alan Webster is the most consistent guy and deductibles -- this here. Right now if you -- looking to if Red Sox needed to start he's probably done the best candidate for it. Yeah Della Rosa and the fell off in the last he started out he was unbelievable in his first four starts. He's lost his command in his last stories started walking a lot of guys. He's still getting a ton of gum balls this year a decent number of swings and misses but you don't have the same confidence in his reliability to provide innings right now. Think you would in in Webster which is a little bit surprising based on how Lester went from in the big leagues. -- and out of work men and Barnes. Right so I assume -- would not -- -- started to look pretty good in -- right now has his most recent outing yesterday it was seven shutout innings the longest of his triple -- career a career high 109 pitches. -- he was he wasn't getting a ton of swings and misses but what he was doing really well was executing down in the strike zone. That's on maybe two maybe three miles an hour curve ball he was really effective with 2330 curve balls yesterday for strikes. So he was just getting a lot of bad contact. And it was he was he was commanding well enough. To get a number of looking the strikes. And so you know even though he only had six swings and misses over -- 109 pitches he saw a five punch -- it was a very good outing from very promising. Either been a few of those of late are still some inconsistencies with him at the AAA level. Tom plate that fastball curveball combination can be pretty good ends. You know I think that we're not those kind of gravitating towards a place where. You're looking at his big leagues ceiling has median number three is big league floors maybe being a number five. If he's not a very good late innings bullpen arm. -- I still think that he's he's a big league starter but -- At any rate he's someone who is probably ready at some point this year to help out. Well it should be noted Alex in spring training I think he was the guy the kind of jump to step up a lot of people's minds and we did we get a chance to see them. Been in person a lot of us for the first time. And this is also a guy that Brooke remember seeing him in Portland I. A couple of years ago -- night he had the an alternate entry -- put the Puerto Rico. Again had some problems but he was very very powerful Fort Myers and left there really really good impressions so. Our hard work hard get help our workmen in double Barnes. Portland's been getting pretty behind and hit pretty hard down in not done AAA you know he's been doing his brain important thing which is throw a lot of strikes. And sometimes that results in resounding contact -- had a game recently where he punched out like a billion batterers. But he gave up four hits and all four of them are solo home runs from end to he's he's had other games or is given up ten hits -- abducted. So he is not overwhelming his competition he is attacking the strike zone. He is getting a decent volume of strikeouts. But he's not someone who you would say -- he's someone who's still looks like he could be a big league starter. But he's not the guy he would say oh yeah that's the natural inherited the Jon Lester legacy he's not doing as well now I would say as he was a year ago at this time. And yet. They who they want people as starter this year but. Clearly even earlier this year when he was stopped with a roadside -- so effectively made in those short -- the bull -- down. Obese the other kind of work if it -- need arises later in the year -- from back into that. I don't really interest to do know how they view it and in terms of you know whether or not they would have to work in -- guy who they would bring back up now they needed a starter. Over Webster who's been the more consistent Impreza got an and it should be added that Webster in his most recent outing. I think you through something like six and two thirds innings with nine punch outs which was the most strikeouts of any. I've member of the pot sucks this year my earlier statement to work construct at a billion guys outstanding so. If that would that would be an interesting one for me to be viewed it for me it's between those two guys. The weird thing is a billion whether -- hyperbole. So be regulated -- you don't deal I -- never never do it literally ability literally left one Matt Barnes yeah Dylan. Matt Barnes has been -- and have been pretty good done in nine Democrats like -- what he's been doing well this year is working relatively efficiently. Which was kind of which was kind of a limitation form last year in Portland last year he got a ton of strikeouts I believe he led the Eastern League in strikeouts per nine innings. But his pitch count would get run up so he he he averaged less than five innings and outing. Which obviously isn't going to get it done with big league level in -- and so far he's getting less strikeout pitching a little bit more to contact. And he's doing well in doing so I think the most recently he -- seven innings which was the second time I wanna say and his side in his minor league career he's worked that long any game. I'm into you know again not a ton of swing and miss -- you're starting to see. Some things coming together to -- he's someone who doesn't have to be added to the forty man roster until after the season. We're not -- on that Workman is on it. Owens is another guy who's not on the forty man roster tolerances on its you would probably default to adding the guys were on the forty man roster. Before you could maybe start to consider Barnes. For a late season promotion if he's been really good but what I would like to see -- do. If I'm the Red Sox before promoting him is combine the two elements efficiency and swings and misses. Which he hasn't combined really since I since his very first days in professional ball in Greeneville and then and then at the beginning of his time in Salem. OK -- to -- a lower level guy who could entered the conversation. Obviously this is this is not be replacing Jon Lester conversation but a lower level guys that maybe. Someone that would maybe you don't -- the by the end of Clay Buchholz is. Contract commitment it made that maybe it's a little too far down the -- 2007. Yeah I can give you one before that I Brian Johnson is currently in double A Portland he spent almost all of last year and Greeneville before spending his last two starts in Salem. He was a first round draft pick in 2012 the Jonathan Papelbon compensatory pick. High end job last year spent almost the entire year in -- but there's a reason for that which was. His progression was slowed a lot by the fact that he took a line drive off the face when he was molded into this season. After he did that he spends an offseason in which until Thanksgiving -- it -- his food was consumed out of a straw so he lost a lot of weight loss a lot of strength. I'm into wasn't able to have a full offseason program. As a result he was slowed out of Greenville but does a guy was pretty advanced to really good college pitcher of the University of Florida who has an interesting four pitch mix. Ends. Has a pretty good understanding of how to use it more advanced than most other guys so he spent I think three starts this year in Salem before he got bumped up to double a Portland's. And right now he's the guy who's showing some some pretty interesting. Its ability you know meeting doesn't have overwhelming stuff all those curve balls played up -- maybe being a swing and miss pitch -- the Major League level. I'm going forward but. He just has a really good understanding of how to about as a lefthander how to get his fastball in on right handed hitters -- -- breaking stuff away. In order to get bad contact in actually quite a number of punch out he's been doing well on that front as well also to meet Brian Johnson. And if you're just ranking prospects now belongs in that tier with the Renato Barnes. With the Renato Barnes Workman type of grouping. -- your opinion knowing what you know. Could you see Johnson leapfrogging to sell the collection of pictures there were talking about including Owens. Absolutely there's -- not Owens no I don't think that he has I don't think videos -- is ceiling I think that Johnson kind of has a three for a ceiling. Based on the fact that he doesn't have he doesn't have a Owens is changeup he doesn't have just a devastating swinging his pitch. Along the lines of what Henry Owens does so there's a little bit more uncertainty. Harden it but I think that the potential exists for him to LeapFrog the other guys in terms of the kind of quality of Major League career he could have. Based on his. On his ability to execute with a lot of different stuff in in different parts of the strike zone and even even getting some -- out of it but. You know I wouldn't say he will be better than them I would say that he's now put himself in the position where there's a chance. Yeah. -- -- I I just think it's important to clarify because like when we go through these prospect rankings but the one thing that we're not doing is saying what the future will be were kind of identifying probabilities. And in potentials rate. Well obviously this goes back to Lester conversation that it is perfectly loop back because. -- remember a press spark conversation and Jon Lester was struggling to get through five innings. It was very pitch efficient even though he had great stuff says this guy's never gonna get a -- they're gonna get it. And and then even when he's going to he's a different type of pitcher that he is now. And one of those things indictments in the column when asked. Independent league players not Lester not pitching coaches or players who have faced Jon -- players who played behind job -- What makes Jon Lester are so good. And they also that first and foremost you billion appears to both sides of the plate and as you know Alex. That is something that just -- took a while to understand he cited this meeting back in Cleveland in 2008. With Varitek -- Farrell about you know you have to start doing this and in the progress he made in the -- the view. Exercises he did with felt tempted to do -- time. One on one side of the plate one the other side of plate it's a work in progress but it got to the point. Didn't really only get to this point I think -- couple years where he's able to do this in this is what elevated them and on the remembering this -- is. It's a perfect example of how long it can take for a guy not to be a good pitcher like Jon Lester was. But to be what general electorate now which is a lock solid by American League east popular toppled rotation type guy. So I made I think you're totally right about the nature of a developmental progression the one thing that I wanna clarify is that I think that Jon Lester now is basically. As good as he was in the 20082010. Run at. Where he wasn't able to have the same sharpness of execution but his stuff was so consistently overpowering. The swings and misses so frequent in volume he remained an ace caliber pitcher in the dailies that's right that's why I believe that well. That's that Britain and look he got a good run there and if he has some really really good run there is no doubt about it. It but we also know that you did different type approach and it is like he'll tell you yes. Absolutely -- -- -- living off of law office stopped and it would you live -- a stop or at times and use that type of pitcher. You're gonna hit bombs on the road extended bumps in the road which he did. But now you look at them it is he what you do and hey listen you might go on another another bad run here yet before he did last. Great had just gone bad run sometimes. Right short broad broad -- at the date dynamic of what he did in the post season and the American League east. The -- I just think he can ignore I just think everything just kind of come together to make some luster what he has now held by. I -- are you there. Though they were talking about now twelve years since he was drafted. Like they did PayPal football. Did that goes to make the point again it takes awhile and it doesn't it might not take awhile to be top of the rotation -- But the beat we're talking about replacing Jon Lester. Because. Stated Jon Lester goes right it did you have John Lackey. You have Clay Buchholz -- feel it's brought perhaps you have Jake Peavy. And you have a bunch of these young pitchers. I can't imagine the good die if heavily into a free agent market -- other than job -- and you replaced Jon -- whether it. A -- -- or our Arctic -- a -- David Price a year from now or. Or whatever -- you would agree that. The only question is whether or not there'll be an interesting trade candidate who would would appear on the horizon for them but I you know I'd like to Josh Beckett model. Of thought of figuring out how to replace an -- but yet to me I don't I don't see them going in. Going into a market with Max Scherzer where he's already turned down what was it six -- 44. Yeah it's it's weird because eight if you -- rewrite our every right but you'd be doubt it's worked perfectly legitimate. You talked about that sort of trade remember Pedro Martinez and remember. As you said Beckett. -- you look at the landscape of right now and that. China trade we are loading a budget prospects seemed to me like it's so much more prevalent for position player than it is for starting pitcher. But I can't imagine. We saw a couple of years ago -- do you Gonzalez and Matt late house and yeah. We've -- -- those groups still Alex I mean I think those guys are in the work good pitchers very good pitchers very good young pitchers. But we go back to what Pedro Martinez he -- back it was. But where were they better than that if Pedro I just think was. -- tomatoes and a separate class obviously it was a reigning Cy Young winner but -- with with Gonzales here's a guy with very good DR -- but it. There was uncertainty based on the crazy walk rates. With -- -- they -- was a guy who I think was very much comparable to Beckett at the time that the Red Sox treated form. Well I guess I just find it very hard to believe the way that the teams are viewing things valid mrs. One of the reasons I do think it is so much parity and you're having some of these teams. Being able -- payrolls because you're -- the young pitchers are prioritizing the young pitchers young pitchers are developing. And and -- Oakland has the perfect example this right and -- I just. Adult -- I don't have the day's trading sunny great to the Red Sox -- Which is replacing Jon Lester conversation. Very into him in this system. The teams teams small market team to -- market teams. Know right now if they have any chance of hanging with -- other team debate these the guys are gonna have to hang onto stalled out side. With Jon Lester going forward. What you think it what you think you're going to happen number one then what do you think should happen don't what what if you were running the Red Sox. What would be your plan of attack when it came to Jon -- because you have a really good perspective what where these guys with a minor league start. And obviously have a good perspective vocal advocate of basal. What you say all start with what would you do it would that you can tell me what you think is going to happen. I mean I I would've I would have used the I use the spring training time well I don't know first of all I wanna make this clear. We do not know exactly what went on behind closed doors with the Red Sox negotiations with Jon Lester. Aside from the fact that there with that we know as you've reported rather there was a four year seventy million dollar offer on the table from the Red Sox. Which to me is you know really. It is. I I operate on the assumption that that was not kind of kind of up and and a lot of OK well -- -- when. I don't even care what they did but I wanna I wanna know what you would do they -- you right and I agree with you I think I think I've said this a million times before. No matter what the Red Sox approach was that spring training window what a perfect time to be just as both are all jumped a little bit. I'll say what I would do myself I have no problem and are trying to get the four years trying to do it. But doing it by overpaying him writers is those under. Yet -- it's it's it's. Yeah this is in this supermodel negotiations for the Red Sox figured it was Pedroia. The started at very low low rate and then moved up but I would imagine that the Yankees game jumper and they might have moved up a little bit for -- This is their mob wives start to wanna know what you would do. That aside going for it in regards to Jon Lester. Yeah I view him as being I don't I don't see how your placement to leaves so I I think you have to take that premise you have to identify the fact that you have a ton of payroll flexibility. Coming down the pipe for next year. So to me I don't I think that if you're the Red Sox you you have to figure out a way to extend them barring some kind of unforeseen. -- drastic injury. You know I think you know ends. You you kind of have to move into that model of trying to get furious and to me. Fewer years means five I think you're doing very well to the Red Sox if you can extend Jon Lester for five years. Because the market would I bear out to me I I think that the market would bear out more than that. -- ends you know you have to have an added aggressive. Place kind of indeed you know in that kind of Cole Hamels -- average annual value. Of twenty forest year I think -- I think that it's it's hard to. Imagine them being able to get something done for less I don't see how they replace him if if they don't get into that territory. Absolutely no regularly going in by you -- new -- of a good point about the -- payroll flexibility because. Because of where this starting rotation is now are you black -- the Major League minimum Bockwoldt committed -- reasonable policy 2017. The brought point hitting arbitration next here that a bunch of these young guys. You can still do this can still do the 24 billion billion a year model and keep things manageable within that starting rotation the way -- An alternative to you might wanna consider is whether or not he is what is like a Pedroia type contract where maybe if you say okay let's see. -- once when he would be a fair point but. Would you be willing to play ball and -- that an eight year old and twenty. In order to be able to kind of give us payroll flexibility so we can build a really good team around you. You know they'll be an interesting conversation I realized that. Did it would be. -- be the antithesis of their model will be more years for fewer dollars. But to meet it has to be one of those two things right either has to be. It either has to be fewer years and more dollars or more using fewer dollars on -- India house. If you be tricky what you would really wanna have to stay here you early wanna have to be a Boston eighteen died. Which you obviously. Teddy bear him candidly that he wants to be sure. They've brought up I mean -- so he's thirty right now. You're taught you the vote this phase of fortify your listed at five year contract. Distill all the window there to get some decent dollars after that wears you obviously do the eight year contract at lower bodies is that that's probably out the window by. Before you go to what you think you're gonna happen. I think he resigns. I do I I just have a hard time. Imagining. In I really do think there is a desire on both sides to the point where. It's difficult for me to imagine. Eight. It's difficult for me to imagine the keeper of the key decision makers in this saying you know what now I think that we can move on you know I I think you're better off. In in a different world back I don't I don't see that happening I still think that he resigns. Yeah I think you're such a push both internally. And on that team in the club about. Com the desire from him yes he's stated. And all the things that we mentioned to you know they can start at a very low rate where it's by all accounts that has happened. But you have to get realistic you know Adam -- two guys have -- around his kidney -- -- last year are. This time last year so interesting conversation about freer and freer import your conversation your analysis your expertise. You can go head over -- distinctive clothing and either get it out Brad OT sure but -- I have three I have three at -- for -- Taiwan and have Brad -- provide. I provide our estimates -- -- pocket square whatever. OK well thank -- and have a great weekend puzzles.

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