Yeah, I didn't include free agents, not because I think it's impossible to sign any, or even any big ones, but because it looks to me like the team is comitted to giving the current crop of almost-but-not-quite here prospects a chance. We don't know which ones will work out and which won't, and neither does the team.
The point is that some of them have
to work out - assuming the team is serious about staying under the luxury tax, and given the new rules regarding free agency, the Sox need to pick up exceptional value from pre-arb young players, fair value for arb-elibable players, or locking up those young players to good deals (as the Sox did with Pedroia/Lester.)
Granted the Sox have more money to burn (right now) than most, but they can't really buy their way to a championship through free agency. It would cripple them in the draft, and I don't think you can really buy enough WAR solely in the free agent market. It's also unlikely that the Sox can plan on picking up a lot of of young good cost controlled players via firesales, trades, etc. because it would cost prospects at something like a 3/1 ratio.
So, given all that, I would also do this trade in a second - it gives you one more high upside prospect for that 2014+ window, and arguably one who might help in 2013. It all depends on what the "real" window of Sox contention is: 2013,14,15?
The one thing I'd also consider is going to Lester and offering him an extension right now. Say, adding 2 years at 10mil each. He'd decline most likely, but if there was common ground it would shift the discussion somewhat. Trading 3/4 years of Lester is another story altogether, as he has a good chance to be a 2/3 pitcher going forward, even if he does not quite regain his form. If there's no extension it breaks down like this:
Either Lester will have a disappointing season or be good in 2013. Either way, it could be meaningless, depending on the rest of the team (the offseason will tell, and management probably knows now whether they "really" intend to go for it now, or are focusing on 2014+). If Lester's good in 2013, I'm sure the sox will exercise the option and/or offer an extension, if he's mediocre, the sox may or may not pick up the option. So we get:
Good or Meh Lester for a semi-contending (?) team.
Or we get Good Lester traded mid-season for prospects (not Myers quality).
Or we get 13mil (less freight) and Myers.
We either have good Lester at ten mil for a possible contender.
Or another "roll the dice Lester" at ten mil for a possible contender.
Or 10mil toward a FA.
Or 10mil FA and Myers.
Come 2015, he's a FA, so he's likely to be overpriced, as some team will pay for an immediate SP need and hope the back end of the contract won't hurt that much.
2015 would seem to be a solid contention year, if our younger valuable players mature. (If not, all this is meaningless anyway.)
So we get Overpriced Lester (no prospect loss) for a solid contender.
Seems like Myers is the way to go.