Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Last week, the Boston Red Sox traded away their best pitcher, ace Jon Lester, to the Oakland Athletics, along with uber American Jonny Gomes. Truthfully, I was sad to see Lester go, but this is baseball after all. Not just a sport, but a strategic business that sees the arrivals and departures of fan favorite players each season.
The Red Sox, one of the wealthiest teams in Major League Baseball, have acquired a special characteristic the past few seasons. This involves having all the money in the world to spend, and using none of it, hoping to rise to stardom on the backs of their prospects alone. Boston did just win a World Series, so I shouldn’t be too greedy, and they dealt Lester away feeling that would be best for the club, but the choices they are making would frustrate any player–even Lester.
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As soon as Lester was traded, speculation began circling that he would just come back to Boston in the offseason. Any fan or teammate of Lester knows how much he loves the City of Boston. There is no question in my mind that his heart sank ever-so-slightly when he found out he was headed out west, but jumping to the conclusion that he will come crawling back to a team that felt he was not valuable enough to keep in the first place in mind-boggling.
If Lester were given the opportunity to come play for the Red Sox again today, he would most certainly take it, no doubt. The emotions are still fresh and this is where he wants to play–right now. However, this is not going to happen, leaving Lester contractually obligated to spend the next two or three months playing with the Athletics, a team incredibly capable of reaching the World Series. Lester already knows what it feels like to win in an Oakland uniform, as he dominated in his first appearance on the mound on August 2nd.
The idea that Lester could win another World Series with a different team and then decide to come back to Boston and play with a rebuilding roster is nothing more than a dream. While I am sure his heart will forever lie in Boston, Lester is a competitive spirit that wants to win. Would I love to see Lester back in a Red Sox uniform? Of course, but fans need to let their hopes die now so they are not disappointed come the offseason. No matter what time of year it is, the story remains the same–the Red Sox didn’t want to pay Lester now, so what makes anyone think they will want to pay him in six months?