So Jon Lester has signed with the Chicago Cubs for $155 million over 6-years. I agree with Rob Bradford that the reason this happened was simply because Boston didn't want him as much privately as they publicly claimed. An extra $20 million and a vesting seventh year was the difference. That difference would mean NOTHING to ownership if they really wanted Lester back.
Simply put - the team didn't want to sign a 31-year old pitcher to a long-term deal. But publicly they had to make it look like they did.
I like Jon Lester and will continue to root for him but what is becoming increasingly clear to me is what I really root for is laundry. Whoever is wearing the Red Sox uniform is the guy I cheer for (unless that guy is dickhead AJ Pierzynski).
Many people will place the blame for losing Jon Lester on Larry Lucchino and to a certain degree they would be right. I would guess that the low-ball $70 million over 4-years offer the team made to Lester in the Spring had Larry's fingerprints all over it. Larry is also the guy to blame for ownership thinking Bobby Valentine was a competent manager. Balancing the negatives, however, are the undeniable positives of three World Series Championships in the last decade and the fact that Lucchino was the man mainly responsible for turning Fenway Park from what was becoming a urine soaked rathole into a great (albeit expensive) place to experience an MLB game.
The real blame for losing Lester rests with principal owner John Henry. Simply put - he didn't want to sign a 31-year old pitcher to a long term deal. If he really wanted Lester back - then the extra $3 million a year (the cost for a below average veteran back-up outfielder) would have been no obstacle.
So now the Red Sox have a pretty potent line-up, some spare parts to deal and some starting (and bullpen) holes to fill. It should be interesting to see what laundry Ben Cherrington can come up with for me to root for.
Meanwhile - Godspeed Jon Lester.
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