Even a trade can’t break the emotional bond between Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox.
Lester, now of the Oakland Athletics, still isn’t ruling out a potential return to the Red Sox in free agency this offseason. If a reunion ultimately is in the cards, Boston manager John Farrell will be among the deal’s biggest supporters.
“I think we would all love to see Jon Lester back in a Red Sox uniform,” Farrell said Wednesday on WEEI’s “Middays with MFB.” “We also know that once free-agent season opens, he’s going to have an opportunity. He’s earned the right to see what the market is going to bear for him. I’m sure there will be a number teams that are interested in Jon. He’s durable, he’s productive, he’s done it in Boston, there’s a great comfort level with everyone here.”
Lester, who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2002, spent parts of nine seasons with Boston before being traded to Oakland before the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline. Lester is set to hit the open market this winter, at which point he’ll likely receive a big payday, but the left-hander told the Boston Herald that his decision won’t revolve around money. Lester instead wants to sign wherever he and his family will be happy.
“I found his comments to be encouraging,” Farrell said Wednesday. “He’s looking for the total package, not just the highest dollar. I think that sits well with anybody who reads it and particularly where he’s spent the majority of his career. We know there’s deep roots here. One of his homes is still here.
“I think, in the end, he’s going to know we’ll have a strong interest in him, but at the same time he’s an Oakland A right now. Until that point comes that’s probably the most we can say on it.”
Lester and the Red Sox both said several times leading up to the trade deadline that they wanted to continue their relationship beyond 2014. The sides couldn’t agree to a contract extension, though, and general manager Ben Cherington ultimately decided to trade Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the A’s in exchange for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.
Trading Lester was a business move. Perhaps the next such move will bring the band back together.