What if Jon Lester’s Red Sox Career Continued?

The Prologue

In 2014, Boston was at a crossroads with their franchise pitcher. Jon Lester’s Red Sox Career was in question due to his then upcoming free agency. He had claimed to be willing to take a “hometown discount” so he could stay in Boston. But when Red Sox brass reportedly offered him a 4-year/$70-million-dollar contract, the two sides never reached an agreement. Jon Lester's Red Sox Career

Lester stayed with the Sox for the beginning of the 2014 season and made the All-Star Game. However, the team was seemingly out of it at the trade deadline, and Lester was shipped to Oakland as a rental with Jonny Gomes in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes.

At the end of the season, Cespedes was traded to Detroit for Rick Porcello. Meanwhile, Lester still became a free agent. The Red Sox were in talks to re-sign him but faced huge competition from the Chicago Cubs. Thus, Jon Lester’s Red Sox career was in jeopardy.

Eventually, the Cubs won the bidding and signed Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal with a vesting option for a seventh year at $15 million. The move reunited him with both David Ross and Theo Epstein. John Lackey, who was also traded in July 2014, would join the club the following year.

What if Jon Lester’s Red Sox Career Continued??

But what if John Henry and Co. had signed Lester to a big deal of their own? Let’s say at around the same price the Cubs paid, or more.

Well for starters, David Price would either be a Yankee, a Cub, or a Cardinal.

Rick Porcello may or may not be on the roster. Depends on how comfortable they would’ve been with Lester, Clay Buchholz, and prospects like Rubby de la Rosa, Brandon Workman, and Anthony Ranaudo.

Only one of those guys (Workman) remains on the 40-man roster today. Eduardo Rodriguez, though still very young then, could have been another compliment.

Both Justin Masterson and Wade Miley wouldn’t have been acquired. Obviously, they were only placeholders until Price came along. But, of course, with Lester who needs Price?

Additionally, David Ross would’ve stayed with Boston for the remainder of his career. He and David Ortiz would’ve retired at the same time.

Dave Dombrowski wouldn’t have been hired because the Ben Cherington would’ve had less pressure to succeed if he had kept Epstein’s guys, like Lester, around to help. Likewise, I believe the Sox would’ve won more games in 2015 with one ace as opposed to five #4 starters.

So would the Cubs win the World Series in 2016 without Lester? Nope.

Instead, I bet Theo would’ve chased Price or Zack Greinke in the 2015 offseason. Especially if Lester had slipped away and the team failed to reach the NLCS. The ’16 Cubs would then, of course, have a similar campaign and reach the postseason. Only to lose Game 5 of the NLDS to the Giants with David Price on the mound.

The Giants would’ve made the World Series and played the young and exciting Red Sox (of course). Jon Lester would pitch Game 7 against Madison Bumgarner in an epic duel. Almost as good as the Cubs-Indians duel.

It’s a shame that the team who drafted, developed, and gave him everything didn’t resign him. Jon Lester is a hero to many – and his resilience through cancer, dominance on the mound, and consistent sportsmanship is legendary.

We may never know.

Red Sox’ Winning Streak Has Fans Excited Again

The hometown heroes have won their last five games (as of May 27th). They have scored a whopping 41 Red Sox' Winning Streakruns in those games while opposing teams have mustered just 15. The Red Sox’ record as of May 27th sits at 26-21, which is the highest amount of games over .500 it has been all year. The recent outburst has been an all-around team effort, from the hitting to the fielding and everything in between. The Red Sox’ winning streak has been a proponent of very good pitching, especially starting pitching.

The Red Sox’ Winning Streak Has Been Led By Pitching

Eduardo Rodriguez has pitched two great games during this 5-game streak. He gave up 3 earned runs over 8 innings in Oakland last Sunday, and beat the Mariners on Friday giving up no runs in 6 innings, (4-1, 2.77 ERA). The Sox were coming off a game that they pitched rather well in too, when they tied the MLB record for strikeouts in a game with a combined 20. Drew Pomeranz pitched a gutty game, striking out 11 en route to the win. Craig Kimbrell struck out 4 in the ninth due to a dropped-third strike, while a combination of Hembree, Barnes, and Scott collected 5 punch-outs. Though Chris Sale was unable to break his own record (in which he shares with Pedro) for the most consecutive starts with 10+ strikeouts, the Sox still won. Sale’s three earned runs over 7.1 got the job done.

What Hitting Has Meant To the Red Sox’ Winning Streak

The Red Sox are finding ways to win. They have proved in the last few years that they can beat any team. They did exactly that against a hot Texas Rangers team. The starting pitching held the Rangers’ bats in check while guys like Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts collected RBI. Xander left the yard for the first time this season, and is hitting a whopping .335 on the season. This is just the start we needed out of him, and his power stroke may have finally returned. Look for this team to stay hot if they can stay healthy, as the return of David Price will hopefully galvanize the club, as well.

Red Sox’ Injuries Plague Team into Bad Stretch

It seems that the Red Sox can not catch a break when it comes to staying healthy. Drew Red Sox' InjuriesPomeranz left his most recent game after experiencing left-forearm tightness, while Marco Hernandez banged up his shoulder just the other day. This is a team that is looking to turn things around after losing consecutive series to Milwaukee and Tampa Bay. If it weren’t for a late Mookie Betts home-run on Thursday, we would have been swept by Travis Shaw’s Brewers. The Red Sox’ injuries have been coming fast and furious so far, and hopefully can come to an end soon.

Are the Red Sox’ Injuries to blame for hitting rough patch?

Pomeranz, Hernandez, Stephen Wright, Pablo Sandoval (surprisingly), Brock Holt, and Hanley Ramirez have all faced injuries this season. Meanwhile, David Price, Roenis Elias, Tyler Thornburg, and Carson Smith have not appeared in a game yet this year. Going into this season, arguably every one of those names were ones that were going to make a huge impact this year. Sure, there is still plenty of time for some of these guys to contribute. Dave Dombrowski is going to have to make a decision soon, though. The inconsistencies in the lineup, bullpen, and back-end of the starting rotation all start with the injuries.

Red Sox’ Injuries or Red Sox’ Slump?

With a lack of depth in the roster due to injuries, several players have hit their own cold spells. Rick Porcello and Jackie Bradley Jr have slumped in their respective roles because they have so much pressure on them to succeed. Last year, Porcello went under the radar for a decent amount of the year before ultimately winning the Cy Young. Bradley was able to alleviate stressful situations last season because there were more guys in the lineup who could get RBI. Are these guys slumping because of the added pressure that injuries bring, or because they simply are struggling? The same question can be asked about Mitch Moreland and Andrew Benintendi, who started the year off hot, but have cooled down tremendously, (as the injuries have rolled in). Only time will tell if the Sox will break their rut, but a little more luck with health wouldn’t hurt either.

Stop Blaming Farrell For Red Sox Mishaps

There’s a Facebook group called The Remy Report that posts updates just about every hour about the Red Sox. Most of the posts lately have focused on John Farrell and the Red Sox poor performance this season. A Mojority of the posts strongly state that the Red Soxblaming farrell must fire him. But it’s time to stop blaming Farrell. What we’re seeing isn’t a managing issue. What Red Sox Nation is seeing is a team trying to find its stride in the wake of injuries and David Ortiz’s departure.

First and foremost, injuries have hit the Red Sox hard this season. Brock Holt has vertigo. Pablo Sandoval hurt his right knee. David Price hasn’t pitched a game yet due to arm issues. Jackie Bradley Jr. sprained his knee last month. Dustin Pedrioa got spiked in Baltimore and had to take time off. Steve Wright just had season-ending surgery. The Red Sox just can’t catch a break. These constant interruptions are leading Farrell to make major changes to the lineup and he hasn’t quite found a formula that works yet. That takes time.

Blaming Farrell Is Easy, But Building A Strong Lineup Is Hard

It takes a while for a team to create the kind of consistency it needs to win games. Players have to adjust to their place in the lineup. They have to build communication with newer players. And they have to learn how to counter the opposing pitchers who’ve studied their batting strengthens and weaknesses. Many fans don’t realize how many moving parts there are in building a winning team. Red Sox can’t just fire every manager that loses a game.

There’s no doubt the Red Sox have a strong lineup. But they’re also young. Players like Jackie Bradley Jr., Mookie Betts, Brock Holt, and Xander Bogaerts have only been around a few years. They’re not seasoned veterans yet. Their pitching staff is new too. David Price, Rick Porcello, and Steve Wright haven’t been with the team for more than a year or two each years. Pitchers and hitters aren’t like a computer that you can program for success. These guys, while they know one another, still have a lot to learn about each other and themselves. They don’t have Big Papi to lead them anymore. They are searching for their own place on the team. Until that happens, don’t expect the Red Sox to grab first place anytime soon.

Those in Red Sox Nation blaming Farrell every time the Red Sox lose need to chill out. Yes, it’s completely acceptable to get mad when they lose. But I can all but guarantee you that the next manager won’t be much different. In fact, the Red Sox would have an even harder time adjusting with new management if they fired Farrell now.

Stop hitting the panic button, but don’t hesitate to hit it again if the Red Sox don’t pick up the pace by July.

Which Red Sox Player Has The Most Swag?

At this point, we’ve all seen the #WinDanceRepeat routine. We’ve all seen the Salt Bae’s Red Sox playerand the cool hairdos. But which Red Sox player has the most swag?

Is it Benintendi with his flow and boyish good looks? Or is it Mookie and his Jumpman cleats? Maybe JBJ and his janitor throw and sexy walk-up songs? The possibilities are endless, especially in the outfield.

Part of me wants to say Hanley is the Red Sox player with the most Swag because of the ease by which he hits and his obvious enjoyment of life. But I’m also partial to Xander Bogaerts and his plethora of arm sleeves and other baseball gear.

What about the pitchers? I see Chris Sale and his ultimate “I’m in charge” attitude as being a keystone of Red Sox player swagger. Although David Price, when healthy, can also walk to the mound like no one will stop him.

Perhaps the best way to settle this is by letter grading the current lineup.

Red Sox Player Swag Grades

Dustin Pedroia: It’s hard to have the grit he does and also nonchalant swag, but he can still make everything look cool and easy. Swag Grade: B

Andrew Benintendi: His hair and schoolboy demeanor bode well with his social media presence and dance moves. Swag Grade: A

Mookie Betts: The way he snarls, bowls, and throws the salt bae leaves little to be desired. Add that to his hot bat and Jordan brand apparel. Swag Grade: A+

Hanley Ramirez: The guy has sweet braids, baggy pants, and a whole lot of power. Swag Grade: B+

Mitch Moreland: Other than a cool nickname, not much there. Swag Grade: C-

Jackie Bradley Jr: A strong arm mixed with great athletic instincts yields little complaints. Swag Grade: B+

Pablo Sandoval and Marco Hernandez: No. Swag Grade: D

Brock Holt: Yes. Yes. Yes. Brock Star for life. Flow bro to Benintendi. Swag Grade: A-

Christian Vazquez: Another strong arm, good music taste. Swag Grade: C+

Sandy Leon: The Venezuelan Santa Claus is everything you want in a mythical figure. Swag Grade: B

Chris Sale: Don’t interrupt him and don’t give him the wrong clothes. For that reason. Swag Grade: A-

David Price: Cool dog, Tennesee accent, nice shoes. Swag Grade: A

Overall Consensus: The Red Sox player with the most swag is probably Mookie Betts. Maybe a future award will be called MSFP (Most Swag-Filled Player)

Good luck there, Mike Trout.

Red Sox Inconsistent Pitching Has Been an Issue

The Red Sox starting rotation has yet to come full-throttle. Sox fans are beginning toInconsistent Pitching grow tired of the team’s inconsistent pitching. Despite Chris Sale’s massive success, the rest of the rotation has been inconsistent to say the least. Drew Pomeranz is the only starter with a winning record, and David Price has not returned from injury. Speaking of injuries, Steven Wright can’t stay away from them. Not to mention, Rick Porcello has not found his groove from last year quite yet. It’s still early, but when will it be time to press the panic button?

David Price’s Return Should Aid Red Sox Inconsistent Pitching

If all goes well, LHP David Price is slated to pitch one more simulated game before he goes on his rehab assignment. This is the best news we have heard so far concerning Price’s injury. News broke last month that he was still experiencing elbow soreness during long toss, but now he seems to be making progress. According to John Farrell, Price threw a 50-pitch simulated game on Thursday, maxing his fastball out at 95 mph. Price’s next sim-game will be Tuesday in Milwaukee, and he is expected to make his first rehab start next Sunday. Again, if all goes well, David Price could be back in the Sox rotation at the end of May or in early June.

Red Sox Inconsistent Pitching Does Not Include Chris Sale

At this point in the regular season, Chris Sale could be a legitimate Cy Young candidate. With an ERA of 1.38 and 63 strikeouts, he has been nothing short of electric. His average fastball velocity is up from last year, and he has yet to give up more than 2 earned-runs in a game. The problem is that the Red Sox have trouble scoring when Sale pitches. They have averaged 2.5 runs/game when Sale starts. I do not see this as a huge problem; Chris Sale is one of the best pitchers in all of baseball and we will win games for him. It has to happen.

If the Red Sox want to succeed as much as they were expected to this year, they have to start pitching like they mean it. Also, David Price has to return to the rotation for them to have a chance of repeating their AL East championship.