Jon Lester is at peace with how everything turned out.
A reasonable knee-jerk response earlier this week after the Boston Red Sox signed Rick Porcello to a four-year contract extension reportedly worth $82.5 million was to wonder how Lester took the news. Lester, of course, failed to reach an agreement with Boston before signing a six-year, $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, but he holds no grudges whatsoever against his former team.
“I’m happy for Rick. That’s a good thing,” Lester told The Boston Globe this week. “I read some of the stuff that (Porcello) said about Boston. It’s all true, about (coach Brian Butterfield) and the expectations and all that stuff. He said all the right things.
“Obviously, in signing that deal he believes in all those things. That’s awesome for him and awesome for the Red Sox that they got a guy that is going to be relied upon.”
The Red Sox reportedly offered Lester a four-year contract worth $70 million last spring. Some saw it as a low-ball offer, but the sides since have acknowledged it was a starting point. The Red Sox, who traded Lester to the Oakland Athletics at last year’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline, again tried to sign the three-time All-Star over the offseason after he hit free agency.
Lester ultimately signed with the Cubs, but, according to the veteran hurler, it wasn’t because he felt disrespected by the Red Sox. In fact, Lester told The Globe this week he “never felt unwanted” by Boston or that the team’s effort to re-sign him only was a public relations move.
Lester evolved into a franchise cornerstone during his eight-plus seasons with the Red Sox. It would have been understandable if he felt some frustration after hearing about Porcello’s extension, as Porcello, who is five years younger than Lester, hadn’t thrown a single pitch for Boston before inking his new deal. Lester refuses to get caught up in emotions, though. He’s well-aware of the nature of the beast.
“I understand. I told (Red Sox owner) John (Henry) that night he came back to the house, I will always appreciate everything they did for me and my family in particular times in my career,” Lester told The Boston Globe. “By no means is there any hard feelings toward those guys. It is what it is. They’re trying to run their business. I’m trying to run mine. At the end of the day, you have to make an informed decision, and I feel like we did that.
“We’re happy with where we’re at. There is always going to be the second-guessers and all that. We’re happy. We’re ready to start this new chapter.”
A new chapter has begun for Lester, Porcello, the Red Sox and the Cubs. Only time will tell who benefits the most, but there’s clearly no lingering displeasure from anyone over the current state of affairs.
Thumbnail photo via Eric Hartline/USA TODAY Sports Images