Red Sox should be reminded they lowballed Jon Lester with news of his retirement
Tip of the cap. It’s all you can do as a New York Yankees fan. Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs legend (yes, both) Jon Lester announced his retirement Wednesday, putting an end to his illustrious 16-year career.
Need we go through the successes? Lester isn’t exactly a first ballot Hall of Famer, but his mark on the game and unmistakable consistently likely gets him into Cooperstown someday. You can’t talk about the last 15 years of baseball without Lester. It’s not possible.
The left-hander finished his career with 200 wins, 2,488 strikeouts, a 3.66 ERA, five All-Star nods, and three top-five finishes in the Cy Young race. But he was much more than that. He won two World Series in Boston and was the team’s ace for the 2013 run. Then he went to the Cubs and played an instrumental role in breaking Chicago’s 108-year championship drought. He was the ace there and the Cy Young runner up in 2016.
Hang on a second … let’s talk about how he ended up in Chicago in the first place. Why did this man ever play for another franchise other than the Red Sox? Funny you ask …
Back in 2014, reports suggested the Red Sox lowballed Lester with a contract extension offer. Mind you, this was in the midst of a career year AFTER he had just aced his way through the 2013 postseason to capture another World Series for the city. We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that roster had no business winning a title (which was sandwiched in between FIVE playoff-less seasons).
Again, according to those reports, it was a four-year, $70 million offer. Were they … outside of their minds?
Yankees fans must remind the Red Sox how they lowballed Jon Lester.
Make fun of the Yankees all you want. They don’t do nonsense like this. We’ve seen it all from the Red Sox, from this incident with Lester to the Mookie Betts trade and a number of other questionable moves in between. This is what New Yorkers would call “disrespecting the fanbase.”
To make matters worse, the Sox then went ahead and traded him to the Oakland Athletics for Yoenis Cespedes, who lasted 51 games in Boston before being dealt for Rick Porcello the following offseason. Lester then went on to sign a $155 million contract with the Chicago Cubs (more than DOUBLE what the Sox reportedly offered) and promptly won another World Series in 2016.
And speaking of the postseason, Lester’s Hall of Fame case undoubtedly rests on his success in October. Across 26 games (22 starts), the 38-year-old finished with a 2.51 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and 133 strikeouts in 154 innings of work. His numbers in the World Series? 4-1 with a 1.77 ERA in six games (five starts). Three championships.
His career against the Yankees? 13-6 with a 3.68 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 181 innings (totaling 30 starts). A winning record against every AL East team, too.
Lester was drafted by the Sox in the second round of the 2002 MLB Draft. Four years later, he was diagnosed with cancer. In December of 2006, he was deemed cancer free. In 2007, he returned to the mound for 12 games (11 starts) before making his first career postseason start in the World Series against the Rockies. He went 5.2 scoreless innings and completed the sweep to give Boston its second title in four seasons.
Five-and-a-half ace-like years later, the Sox weren’t willing to pay him anywhere close to what the market was going to determine. The man should’ve never left Boston. He embodied that city with his demeanor, work ethic, and gutsy play. How did they let him leave like this?
Here’s to hoping Lester enters the Hall with a beautiful Cubbies hat.