Jon Lester wants to remain with the Red Sox, and Boston absolutely would love to keep its ace. Baseball involves an incredible amount of unpredictability, though, and nothing can be ruled out as we get closer to the Major League Baseball trade deadline.
The idea of trading Lester seems far-fetched, especially when you consider the sides’ mutual admiration. But with Boston struggling and Lester’s contract up after this season, the Red Sox, theoretically, could consider dealing the 30-year-old in order to obtain long-term value if they ultimately determine it’s a lost season. As such, Lester is prepared for anything, even though his heart resides in Boston.
“I think every year when you get to the trade deadline, that’s always a possibility,” Lester told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford on this week’s “The Bradfo Show” podcast. “How great a possibility it is, I don’t know because you’re not in that room, you’re not making the phone calls. I think this year, given the unique situation we could be in at that time, I don’t know. I always said, if they feel like trading me is going to make the Boston Red Sox better for the future, then no hard feelings. Like I said, it’s business.”
The business side of baseball is what leaves Lester’s future beyond 2014 up in the air. Lester said last offseason — in the wake of his second World Series title — that he’d accept a hometown discount to stay in Boston. The cost to keep the two-time All-Star still figures to be steep, though, as he’s set to join Detroit Tigers ace Max Scherzer as one of the best pitchers available on the open market.
There’s no denying the success Lester has enjoyed since being drafted by the Red Sox in the second round of the 2002 draft. He has over 100 wins and has established himself as one of baseball’s best big-game pitchers. Yet as the Red Sox look to get their World Series defense on track, Lester is remaining realistic about the entire situation.
“I want to be here, I think they want me to be here,” Lester said. “But like I said, at the same time, I’m sure they wanted (Adrian Gonzalez) and (Carl Crawford) and (Josh Beckett) and (Nick Punto) to be here, but they needed to make a decision for the greater good for the future. That’s what they had to do. If that’s what they have to do, then that’s what they have to do. There wouldn’t be any hard feelings. I would still think of my time here as great, cherish every minute that I was here, go about my business wherever I go. … This game isn’t stable. As much as we’d like to make it stable, it’s not.”
Lester, who almost was traded on two separate occasions before evolving into a stalwart in the Red Sox’s rotation, now considers Boston to be his home. Perhaps he will for a long time, but there currently exist more questions than answers.