Former Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester has been giving the Oakland A’s the kind of pitching they hoped for when they made the blockbuster trade for the left-handed pitcher. In three games with the A’s, Lester is 3-0 and showing just why he may be the most coveted pitcher entering free agency this offseason. While the lefty has moved on with his new team, he told the Boston Herald on Tuesday that he is not ruling out a return to Boston.
Lester, who joined the A’s in a trade deadline deal that sent All-Star outfield Yoenis Cespedes to the Red Sox, put in another dominant performance Tuesday night against the Kansas City Royals. He struck out nine and allowed three runs on six hits and two walks ending the Royals’ eight-game winning streak.
The performance was acknowledged by Royals manager Ned Yost, who joked about having to face Lester twice in a 10-day span because of the trade. He said after the game, “I’d rather face Cespedes four times in a game than face Lester one game. That’s just me. That’s not taking anything away from Cespedes. He can beat you with one swing of the bat.”
Ironically, Cespedes has been delivering for the Red Sox his power. He has helped the team win two games with one swing of the bat, but pitching has also been a factor for the Red Sox. Young pitchers Rubby De La Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo and Allen Webster have shown glimpses of what the Sox may have in the future, but they will still be looking for a veteran ace for the 2015 season. That is where Lester comes in. While there are many experts who don’t believe the left-handed pitcher would return to Boston, Lester has hinted before that he is open to the possibility and brought it up again on Tuesday before his game with the Royals.
He told the Boston Herald, “My time there, the memories and all that stuff don’t get erased based on this whole ordeal. I’m glad with where I’m at, and I understood where [Red Sox GM] Ben [Cherington] was at. At the end of the season, it’s not going to change my mind about going back there if they are aggressive and competitive and do the thing they say they’re going to do. Boston is definitely a place I would go.”
While the Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and a few other teams are expected to be in the running for Jon Lester, it sounds like if the Sox make the right offer and not necessarily the most expensive offer, Lester would return to a place where his family is comfortable. Sometimes it is comfort and familiarity that wins out over money.