Dealt to Oakland at the trade deadline along with Jonny Gomes, Boston cashed out on the Athletics’ rental obtaining Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes in the deal.
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Lester was a major addition to the Oakland Athletics and was supposed to help lead them to a World Series title. Instead, the whole team collapsed going 22-33 in their final 55 games of the season. Lester on the other hand was spectacular and managed to post a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for his new team.
2014 was Jon Lester’s best season to date without a doubt. The 30-year-old Washington native held his ERA down to 2.46 while striking out 220 men in 219.2 innings making him hands down one of the top pitchers in the league. Some may even argue that he out-pitched Detroit Tigers ace Max Scherzer who posted a 3.15 ERA on the year. Both of them are free agents this off season.
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As one of the most desirable pitchers on the market, it appears as though Jon Lester will not be making a return to Boston. It is not that he could not come back to the Red Sox, it is more that the odds of it happening are highly unlikely.
Draft pick compensation clearly is not the issue here as any team who wants to compete would be willing to give up a draft pick to get one of the top pitchers in the league in the prime of his career.
Re-signing with his current team is not an issue either simply because the Athletics are one of baseball’s poorest teams.
The real problem stems from his contract. Odds are, Lester will get locked up to some sort of a record breaking contract where he earns over $20 million a year to pitch 32 games a year for anywhere from eight to ten years. Essentially, the team who wants Lester might as well give him a blank check .
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If Boston had the desire to re-sign Lester, they likely would have kept him at the trade deadline instead of dishing him out west. Moving him at that point in time seemed to be a clear indication that he was no longer a part of their plans. Instead right now, James Shields and Cole Hamels seem to be the cheaper, more appealing options for the Red Sox to fill their rotation with talent.
Just an afterthought: recently, Jon Lester put his $1.85 million dollar home in Newton up for sale. What this implies, who knows? It does seem to lean towards the fact that he may be leaving Red Sox Nation forever.
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