The Boston Red Sox got a reminder of their championship past when a trio of franchise heroes visited spring training in Fort Myers, Fla. on Thursday.

Among the visitors was Jon Lester, who pitched the Red Sox to World Series victories in 2007 and 2013. The southpaw went through an incredible run with Boston, from beating cancer to growing into the ace of the staff.

Lester was as consistent as they come during his time in a Red Sox uniform, making 30 or more starts in seven consecutive seasons while delivering quality outings in two separate World Series trips. Lester earned three All-Star selections during his Red Sox tenure, establishing himself in franchise history as an innings-eater and a prime postseason performer.

The lefty added to his resume with the Chicago Cubs with three more playoff wins, victory No. 200 in his career, the NLCS MVP award and a third championship in 2016.

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Lester’s return to the Red Sox at spring training comes at a crucial time for Boston’s 2024 squad. Alex Cora and the new pitching regime continue the search for the ballclub’s fifth starter while a potential solution remains available in free agency.

Obviously, that’s Jordan Montgomery.

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The Red Sox currently lack the innings and playoff durability that Lester provided at the top of the rotation throughout his career. At this stage of the offseason, as he has offered on paper all winter, Montgomery can make a major impact in those areas at the top of the Red Sox rotation alongside starters Lucas Giolito and Brayan Bello.

To clarify, that’s not to say that Montgomery is the modern day Jon Lester. Not at all. Lester was a bona fide ace with legitimate stuff and a long track record of production as a dominant starter. With that being said, Lester’s run should be a reminder of what Montgomery would immediately add to the Red Sox.

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Boston struggled in 2023, mainly due in part to a lack of innings, health and overall production from the starting rotation. Montgomery has proven he can take the ball on a regular basis when it’s his turn, making at least 30 starts in his last three seasons with an ERA under 3.85 in each of those campaigns. The southpaw offers durability and a consistent chance to win.

Should the Red Sox rise to the occasion and overcome the overwhelming gauntlet of the American League East to earn a playoff berth, Montgomery becomes that much more important to Boston.

With the World Series champions in 2023, Montgomery won three playoff starts for the Texas Rangers, moving his career postseason ERA to 2.63 in six starts and eight total appearances. When the lights have been the brightest, the left-hander has elevated his game.

Just about every case has already been made for the Red Sox to sign Montgomery. Literally every one. Lester’s presence in Fort Myers is not another case, just a reminder of what that production has meant to the Red Sox before.

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Featured image via Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports Images