Toucher & Rich: ‘Catastrophic’ Mistake If Red Sox Don’t Re-Sign Jon Lester
BOSTON (CBS) – Now that the Bruins season is over, fans can now shift and focus their attention on the baseball team.
CSNNE Red Sox insider Sean McAdam joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich show Friday morning to discuss a whole host of Red Sox topics, starting with left-handed reliever Andrew Miller.
Miller has given up two walk-off hits this week after retiring 21 of 23 batters to start the month. Despite having great stuff, the 6′ 7″ Miller has had command issues throughout his career and McAdam says, “You never really know what you’re going to get from him.”
McAdam adds that the team views him as the potential closer for the future, but he’s definitely not there yet.
Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts came into the season with very high expectations. Bogaerts is batting a very respectable .257, but has just one home run and five RBI in 38 games played.
Red Sox fans probably expected more out of the top prospect in their farm system. Rich labeled his start to 2014 “underwhelming” and wonders if our expectations were too high for the 21-year-old.
McAdam says the defense is improving, which is a good sign, and the bat will come around eventually.
“I think you see all the things that the Red Sox like about him at the plate. He doesn’t get himself out much. He doesn’t chase pitches. He has poise. He doesn’t get overwhelmed. But it’s going to take awhile. Not everybody, even the most talented prospects, is going to have the kind of season Mike Trout had in 2012.
“Bogaerts was built up by the media, the Red Sox a little bit, by scouts and evaluators from other teams saying this guy is ‘can’t miss’. I think he will be a very good player, but when you get dropped in as the shortstop on the defending world champions the microscope is going to be pretty big. Every flaw is going to be exposed. I think that’s what we’ve seen the first six weeks.”
After talking about Clay Buchholz and his up and down play in 2014, the conversation shifted to another starting pitcher in Jon Lester.
Lester will be a free agent at the end of the season and both his representatives and the organization put his contract extension talks on pause at the end of spring training. McAdam says those talks haven’t resumed and “nothing is on the horizon” in terms of a new deal.
The Red Sox reportedly offered Lester a four-year $70 million deal, which is not even in the ball park of what the ace is looking for and what he could get on the open market.
McAdam understands the Red Sox and general manager Ben Cherington want to be disciplined with their spending, but sometimes you have to break the bank on top flight free agents.
“There’s something in their head that they’re gonna stick to this policy of not giving out long term deals, particularly to players in their thirties, which Lester just turned. But you can’t compete for premium free agents if you’re gonna take that position.
“When you’re talking about left-handed pitchers who are going to be premiere free agents and command more than $20 million a year, that same approach doesn’t work. If they decided they’re holding the line they’re not gonna keep Jon Lester, and they won’t have a no. 1 guy on that pitching staff.”
“That would be a catastrophic mistake for them,” said Wallach.
“I think so too Jon. I don’t understand the thinking. This is a guy that’s been a good teammate here. He’s been durable. Obviously there’s a risk, but if there’s a guy to do it with it’s Lester,” said McAdam. “They’re gonna be in a position where they have to replace 200 innings next season if they don’t start being more aggressive in these talks.”
Listen below for the full discussion, including a preview of the Red Sox-Tigers series and much more:
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