Jon Lester started Game 4 of the 2007 World Series for the Red Sox. Jonathan Papelbon finished it, kicking off Boston’s celebration.
Could a similar situation unfold this season in the Windy City?
“We all hear what goes on,” Lester told CSNChicago.com earlier this week. “I think he’s got a lot of things on his plate and he’s got the opportunity to either veto or accept some of these trades. I’m sure he’s got a lot of things going through his mind. It’s always hard when midseason you have to uproot your family and move and all that.
“I’ve talked to him just based on, ‘Hey, man, how you doing? How you holding up?’ Stuff like that. Not really anything about possibly coming here.
“I know he would be excited to come here and be excited to help.”
Papelbon has been terrific this season despite the Phillies’ issues as a team. The veteran closer entered Friday with a 1.88 ERA and 13 saves over 28 appearances, perhaps boosting his value with the Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline just over a month away.
Papelbon’s situation, however, is complicated by his contract. The 34-year-old is owed about $6.5 million in the second half of this season and has a $13 million vesting option that seems likely to kick in for 2016. Acquiring the five-time All-Star clearly comes at a price.
But Chicago might look at the opportunity as one that’s too good to pass up. As Lester notes, a major acquisition can spark a clubhouse, though the upstart Cubs seem OK in that regard.
“Would it boost the clubhouse? Absolutely,” Lester told CSNChicago.com. “(But) I’ve been on both sides of it. Each individual season is kind of unique, so you try to leave it up to those guys (in the front office).
“When you’ve been playing good and you get an addition, all of a sudden, you just get that extra boost. Even in ’13, we got Jake Peavy (in Boston) and no one really thought that was going to really help us. But I think when you bring in character guys, it can give you that boost in the clubhouse and on the field.”
Lester also pointed to Papelbon’s postseason experience as proof the closer could help Chicago. And with the Cubs hanging around in the National League playoff race, a trade is at least worth considering.
“I love Pap. I always have,” Lester said. ” … I loved him in Boston. The guy’s a competitor. He never shies away from taking the ball.”
Lester and Papelbon did big things in Boston. Who knows what the band still is capable of?
Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports Images
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