The Nation: Lester’s farewell

The trade is coming. To who and when, those are the only questions remaining. I would like to tell you Jon Lester will be with the Red Sox for life. I would like to tell you that after continuously proving himself, winning in the postseason (including 2 World Series rings), putting up Cy Young seasons like this year, oh, yea, and pitching a no hitter after beating cancer, that Jon Lester would never pitch a home game outside of Fenway Park.

But I’m going to be up front about it all. I’m going to be realistic. For some of you optimists out there, you’ll scold me and disagree with me. But for those realists taking a look at what I say, you’re probably already feeling the emptiness knowing Jon Lester has pitched his last game with the Red Sox.

Some of you are already saying, “No, that’s wrong. We’ll trade him and he’ll just sign with us after the season.” Others are saying, “we won’t even trade him. We’ll extend him after the trade deadline.” But realistically, both of those ideas won’t come to pass. Here’s why:

The Red Sox have made it very clear they won’t give a big contract to a 30 year old pitcher. No matter who that pitcher may be. Here’s what bothers me about that: They’ve done that. Plenty of times. They did it with Lackey, a guy who wasn’t home grown. But they won’t do it for Jon Lester. A guy we all love, a guy we’ve witnessed grow in this game. He loves Boston. And we love him. But the ownership doesn’t see that. That’s reason number one.

Secondly, they already offered him a low ball deal of 70 million. A guy as good as Lester shouldn’t be taking any offer below 105 million dollars. That’s should be a starting point. But the Red Sox haven’t made any negotiations since then. If the Red Sox REALLY wanted to keep Jon Lester, believe me, they have the money to do it. They don’t want to keep him. That’s why they’re trading him.

Lastly, once Lester is traded, one of two things will happen after the season. The first: the team he is traded to will negotiate a new contract to keep him (if it can afford it). Secondly, he will hit the open market and see who the highest bidder for his services is. I’ll really ruin the mood now. The Yankees are going to be offering a LOT of money. The Red Sox? Sure, they may get involved. They may even raise that 70 million dollar offer to around 100 million. But that’s not enough. It’ll be too late by then. Jon Lester will be pitching for another team next year and beyond. I hate it as much as you do. Trust me, I’m a huge Jon Lester fan. And when I get that dreaded notification that he’s packed his bags and is shipping out, my heart will drop even lower than it has right now.

We’ll survive. Hell, we may even go out and get another good pitcher or two for next year. But no matter who those guys MAY be, they won’t be Jon Lester and they certainly won’t be beloved and adored like he is here in Boston.

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