BOSTON (CBS) — Jon Lester wants to shelve contract talks with the Boston Red Sox until after the season, placing a little doubt on his future with the team.
The Red Sox reportedly offered Lester a four-year, $70 million contract earlier in the season, and that low-ball offer has soured him a bit on the process. So instead of deal with that headache, Lester wants to focus on pitching and will think about those dollar signs come winter.
Lester potentially hitting the open market isn’t great news for Red Sox fans, who have watched the southpaw rack up 109 regular season wins and two World Series rings in his nine seasons in Boston. But Marc “The Beetle” Bertrand is convince that even if Lester tests the free agent waters this winter, the lefty will be back with the Red Sox next spring.
“I wouldn’t sign a deal now anyways. You’ve made it this far, hit the market and find out what you’re worth,” Beetle said Monday as he and Adam Jones filled in for Felger & Mazz on 98.5 The Sports Hub. “You can always come back to the Red Sox – just fielding offers doesn’t mean he won’t end up back with the Red Sox, and I personally believe that Jon Lester will be in a Red Sox uniform next year.”
Bertrand says that even if Lester doesn’t take a home town discount, which he said he was open to do earlier this spring, the Red Sox should be able to find a deal that works for both sides.
“He has a great relationship with his manager [John Farrell], the guy he deals with day-to-day. He doesn’t deal with the [Larry] Luchhinos and [Ben] Cheringtons every day, and I believe he really likes playing here,” said Beetle.
“I think he’ll end up here and I’ll tell you why: With the way this season has gone for the Red Sox, do you think it’s appropriate for them to respond this off-season by letting their best pitcher walk out the door over money? I don’t think they will. That would be a joke and I don’t think they’re willing to go there,” he said. “I don’t think they’re willing to let Jon Lester leave this team, potentially go to the Yankees of all teams, after this season they’re having. They’ll end up paying Jon Lester; there is a willingness on Lester’s part and they’ll find a way to make the deal work.”
Bertrand said the maximum deal he’d offer Lester, who is 9-7 with a 2.73 ERA in 18 starts this season, is five-years for $25 million annually. Lester has proven himself in big games, and he’d be worth the big money investment.
However, Beetle also said that if a contending team comes in and offers the Red Sox a bounty of prospects for Lester at the July 31 trade deadline, Boston should pull the trigger.
“He’s not untouchable,” Bertrand said. “If you blow me away with some stupid offer then anyone is available.”
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