A trade involving Jon Lester wouldn’t necessarily signify the end of the three-time All-Star’s tenure with the Boston Red Sox.
Lester, who is set to become a free agent after this season, told reporters after Friday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field that he would be open to re-signing with the Red Sox over the offseason even if Boston opted to trade him before next week’s Major League Baseball trade deadline.
“Yeah, why not? I mean, this is what I know. This is what I love,” Lester said. “Like I’ve said plenty of times, this is where I want to be. And if they trade me, I completely understand. No hard feelings. I know what they have to do for their organization and if that involves me, so be it. If it doesn’t, I’ll keep running out there every five days and pitching. And hopefully in November we get something done — or October, whenever it is.”
Lester again was excellent Friday, allowing two earned runs on six hits over six innings despite the Red Sox losing their fourth straight contest. The left-hander, whose ERA now sits at 2.52, has allowed two earned runs or fewer in each of his last eight starts, making him one of the hottest pitchers in baseball with free agency looming.
Both Lester and the Red Sox have expressed a desire to continue their relationship beyond 2014 even though contract negotiations have been tabled until after the season. The Red Sox are nine games under .500 (47-56), though, and trading Lester could net Boston a big haul of prospects if the club opts to make him available.
There hasn’t been any indication that the Red Sox have considered trading Lester despite their season slipping away. The team could become more inclined to consider the idea, however, knowing that a trade, according to Lester, wouldn’t prevent the sides from reuniting this offseason.
“We all understand where we’re at. We understand it’s a business,” Lester said. “And (general manager Ben Cherington) and ownership have to do what’s right for this organization and if that means, whoever it may be, is traded for prospects or other guys or whatever, that’s just part of the business.
“We all understand it. I’ve been through it a couple times at a younger age. If that’s where they want to go with it, that’s fine. No hard feelings. Hopefully come November, I’ll be right here and won’t have to worry about it.”
The Red Sox certainly have some important decisions to make before the July 31 trade deadline. Lester just left the door open for one of the most intriguing possibilities yet.