The Red Sox remain in the thick of the Lester sweepstakes but face some serious competition for the left-hander’s services. Ortiz lobbied Thursday for Boston to open up the checkbook, though. Big Papi wants a reunion.
“This is a guy who loves Boston, so if I’m the Red Sox, I do whatever it takes to keep a guy like that because that’s a guy who brings everything he has every day to the field,” Ortiz told reporters at his annual golf tournament in the Dominican Republic. “Not only that, but he cares about the city.
“He was devastated when he got traded, and I know that. I can personally tell you that. But this is a business, and I know he understands that. So now is the time for us to step up, man up, and try to make the guy happy.”
Lester said several times before the Red Sox traded him to the Oakland Athletics in July that he hoped to remain with Boston, even insisting he’d accept a hometown discount to remain with the organization that drafted him back in 2002. The Red Sox saw an opportunity to add a talented hitter in Yoenis Cespedes at the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, though, and Lester thus was dealt to the A’s after the sides couldn’t agree to a contract extension.
Now, the Red Sox have an opportunity to bring back Lester in free agency, and neither the team nor the player has shut the door on a potential return. It’s going to cost the Red Sox, as the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants also appear to be in hot pursuit of the three-time All-Star. But Ortiz remains optimistic that something will get done and order will be restored.
“Most of the time we come through,” Ortiz said. “I know it’s a tough situation because my boy Lester, he’s got a lot of people in his head right now talking to him. I always wish him the best, but hopefully we end up having him. We need him.”
Thumbnail photo via Eileen Blass/USA TODAY Sports Images
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