In late July, Jon Lester was traded to the Oakland Athletics in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes and at the time I hated the deal, but I left an opening for a possible scenario in which the Red Sox would resign Lester this offseason. Since a few weeks after the trade, Boston fans have sort of forgotten about Lester and let me remind you why the Red Sox should place Lester high on the list of priorities this offseason.
Since Lester’s departure, the Red Sox have gone 20-28, with their ace being Clay Buchholz. Buchholz has gone 3-2 since the trade and is sitting with a 4.32 ERA on the season. Basically, if Buchholz is you plan, get a new one. Buchholz went just 4 innings in his last start, allowing 6 hits and 4 ER. Buchholz can be a good pitcher, but lack of consistency paired with health is the reason he’ll never be an ace in Major League Baseball.
Jon Lester on the other hand has flourished on a team that is fighting for a playoff spot. Lester has gone 6-3 in his first 10 games with Oakland and is a major reason they are in the hunt. His ERA this season is a minuscule 1.55. He’s averaged 7 innings per start and has just surpassed the 200 inning mark for the sixth time in the last seven seasons and just to put perspective on it, the one season he missed the 200-inning benchmark, he pitched 191 innings.
Of course, signing Lester is going to be a tall order with multiple teams in, but the Red Sox do have the money and know the commodity. Lester, who will be 31 at the beginning of next season, is a playoff-proven, high caliber starter and there is no excuse for the Red Sox to not make a significant offer and try to get Lester unlike the slap-in-the-face one they offered earlier this season.
It will be difficult, but if they can manage to resign Lester and they successfully used him to fix their outfield issues, then they won the trade big time. On the opposite end of the spectrum – if they don’t resign Lester, or a legit ace of Lester’s caliber, then come back to Boston’s TitleTownTalk because we will rip them.
Just six games left in the season and the Red Sox have major concerns heading into the Winter, but the primary concern is who will fill the number one slot on the mound in 2015. In the meantime, I like Jon Lester so I would like him to win another championship with Oakland. I hardly think him performing well will change his value. He’s going to get paid and his gamble to not resign mid-season will have paid off for him.