Jon Lester: ‘I’m not going to the highest bidder’

Jon LesterBarring some sort of unforeseen event, Jon Lester will not be pitching for the Oakland A’s next season. Oakland can’t afford him. And the more Lester talks, the more it sounds like he is hoping the Boston Red Sox make him a competitive enough offer that he can return to the place where he started his career.

Lester’s interview with Jon Tomasse of the Boston Herald earlier this week had two interesting takeaways — he isn’t necessarily signing with the highest bidder and he is by no means opposed to returning to Boston.

“My time there, the memories and all that stuff don’t get erased based on this whole ordeal,” Lester said. “I’m glad with where I’m at, and I understood where (Red Sox GM Ben Cherington) was at. At the end of the season, it’s not going to change my mind about going back there if they are aggressive and competitive and do the things they say they’re going to do. Boston is definitely a place I would go.”

[Related: David Ortiz hints Jon Lester will be back with Red Sox]

Lester added that the Red Sox told him before trading him that they planned on pursuing him aggressively this fall, but he basically said they don’t have to be all that aggressive.

“They told me, ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these (other) offers,'” he said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be blown out of the water.’ Why would I need to be blown out of the water? That doesn’t make or break your decision, at least for me. I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”

It would be easy to envision a scenario where Lester plays for the A’s for a few months, helps them in the playoffs, and returns to the place he has called home for years. His family wouldn’t even have to move and his life would basically remain the way it was before.

Red Sox and Rays reportedly told not to trade Jon Lester or David Price to Yankees

jon-lesterAs Major League Baseball’s trade deadline approached, two names many were interested in were David Price and Jon Lester.

Price, a former Cy Young Award winner is due to become a free agent after next season, but it became increasingly likely the Tampa Bay Rays were going to move him sooner rather than later.

Lester, on the other hand, will hit free agency after this season. With he and the Red Sox unable to come to terms on a contract extension, it made sense for Boston to get something for Lester before potentially losing him with no return.

So, the Rays dealt Price to the Tigers and the Red Sox shipped Lester to the west coast to the Oakland A’s.

Both are All-Star caliber pitchers, so it’s no surprise several teams were mentioned as possible suitors for each. One club, however, had no chance of landing Price or Lester, according to Newsday’s David Lennon. That team was the New York Yankees.

Well then.

The Red Sox and Yankees did work out a trade involving other players though, as Boston sent Stephen Drew to New York for Kelly Johnson. However, there’s always the possibility Jon Lester or David Price could end up with the Yankees because when it comes to free agency we know they aren’t shy about throwing around money.

H/T Eye On Baseball

Jon Lester thanks Red Sox fans with full-page ad in Boston Globe


Until last week, the Boston Red Sox were the only team Jon Lester had played for since making his major league debut 2006. That changed when he was traded to the Oakland A’s this past Thursday along with Jonny Gomes in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes.

With Lester being a free agent at the end of the season, the possibility remains he could make a triumphant return to Boston. The 30-year-old went as far as to favorite a few tweets about him returning to the club in 2015.

Whether that happens or not, Lester wants Red Sox fans to know he appreciates their support over the first nine seasons of his career and did so by taking out this full-page ad in Sunday’s Boston Globe.

Lester allowed three earned runs over 6.2 innings in his first start for Oakland on Saturday to pick up the win as the A’s defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-3.

Photo: Boston Globe

David Ortiz hints Jon Lester will be back with Red Sox

David Ortiz Jon Lester

David Ortiz was not thrilled to see his longtime teammate Jon Lester get traded by the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, but he does have some optimism about playing with his friend again.

Ortiz talked with MLB Network’s Tom Verducci Friday about the two big moves Boston made prior to the trade deadline and hinted that Lester might return to Boston.

“I wasn’t happy,” Ortiz said of the Lester trade. “That’s one of my pretty good friends and teammates for a long time. And the season he was having … always wish him the best. But I have a feeling I will play with him again before my career ends.”

Lester will be a free agent after the season, and the Red Sox are a candidate to sign him. Perhaps Lester or Boston’s front office tipped their plans to Ortiz.

Boston had a nice overall day in terms of returns. They received Cespedes and a draft pick from Oakland, and Joe Kelly and Allen Craig from St. Louis in the Lackey trade. Ortiz understands what management was doing.

“It’s looking like we’re trying to rebuild and get things better for next year,” Ortiz told MLB Network’s Verducci. “Hopefully that’s the case. We’ll see if what we will help us to finish the season good and get better for next year. We got some good players. We have a couple of bats, we have a young, talented pitcher in Joe Kelly. I faced him last year in the playoffs and he has explosive stuff. Hopefully it can work out the way we expect.”

As you could imagine, Ortiz is pretty happy about having Cespedes on his team. He raved about the Cuban slugger’s power and ability to learn, and he believes he’s still figuring out the game.

“Great man, great. This kid has unbelievable power. I think in his case he’s still in the learning process. But he has explosive power.”

Boston was 48-60 this season, so it made complete sense to trade some parts in return for others. And how great will they look if they sign Lester in the winter after getting Cespedes and a draft pick for him?

Jon Lester favorites tweets about him returning to Red Sox in 2015

Jon LesterJon Lester was traded to the Oakland A’s on Thursday after spending the first eight-plus years of his MLB career with the Boston Red Sox. Is the 30-year-old lefty moving on for good, or are the A’s just borrowing him for a few months?

There are plenty of people who believe the Red Sox traded Lester with the intention of signing him on the open market this offseason. Boston is out of contention in 2014. If they bring Lester back this winter, they essentially swapped Jonny Gomes for Cespedes straight up. Not that it means anything, but here are two of the tweets Lester favorite in the hours after he was traded.

Lester probably just appreciates the kind words, but you never know. What we do know is that the A’s don’t have the money to sign Lester to the extension he is seeking. That means he is all but certain to hit the open market, and the Red Sox have plenty of cash if they want him back. Boston has been hesitant to pay that kind of money for pitching, but they could make an exception if this was the plan all along.

H/T LBS friend John F

Jon Lester, Jonny Gomes traded to A’s for Yoenis Cespedes

Jon LesterThe Boston Red Sox have reportedly agreed to trade Jon Lester and Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes. The move was first reported by WEEI.com’s Alex Speier.

The Red Sox made it clear in recent weeks that they were looking to move Lester, as they are obviously not prepared to pay the lefthander the amount of money he will command on the open market. Boston made an offer of four years and $70 million over the offseason, which was borderline laughable. Lester has thrown over 200 innings in six of his last seven seasons and has proven that he can pitch effectively in the postseason. He’ll likely sign a deal worth somewhere in the six-year, $150 million range.

Boston was initially said to be looking for two top-tier prospects in return for Lester, but the Sox must feel that Cespedes fills a need more immediately. The 28-year-old will provide some middle-of-the-order pop that the Red Sox have been lacking this season. Cespedes is owed $10.5 million in 2015 before he becomes a free agent.

As for the A’s, some of the best pitching in the league just got better. Lester and his 10-7 record and 2.52 ERA will join a staff that is in the top five in the league in most pitching categories. Pitching wins in the playoffs. The A’s, who have the best record in baseball, now have plenty of it.

Jon Lester to Colin Cowherd: You couldn’t be more wrong about David Ortiz

David-Ortiz-rips-Buster-OlneyBoston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester went on Colin Cowherd’s show on Friday to defend David Ortiz. Earlier this week, Cowherd spoke about Ortiz’s mind-boggling performance in the World Series and all but accused him of using performance-enhancing drugs. Lester seemed certain that is not the case.

“I think you couldn’t be more wrong about him,” Lester said. “I think the biggest thing with David is you really haven’t seen the power numbers spike up or anything like that. I think he’s just become more of a complete hitter. … It’s not like he’s going at there at 37 and all of a sudden he’s hitting 50 homers and driving in 140 (runs).

“He’s hitting his normal home run totals that he’s hit his entire career. His average has gone up, which I think is a result of him taking his walks and taking the base hits. I think Fenway Park is a good ballpark for him and fits him well and I think he’s done it the right way for a long time.”

Lester is right about that. Ortiz has hit somewhere in the vicinity of 25-30 home runs and 90-100 RBI for the past six seasons of his career — excluding stretches where he was injured. After hitting just .238 in 150 games in 2009, many assumed Big Papi was washed up. Instead, he enjoyed one of the best all-around statistical years of his career this season at age 37.

[Read more...]