Though the Sox shouldnt be here with Lester, they unfortunately are...
Now, my opinion on this, I have learned, has been very different from others. It has nothing to do with the allegiance to my team's. But trading away Jon Lester, who is in the midst of a career year (obviously in a contract year), is an awfully large mistake.
The problem that people have with my look on it is more or less "Well you're going to lose him at the end of the year to free agency, why not get what you can for him now?" I don't like that concept. Pitcher's of his caliber do not, I repeat, do not grow on trees. He is an innings eater. He is an all-star. He is a lefty. He has a very good strikeout to walk ratio. He has overcome cancer. He has had ONE bad season. He has a sub 3 ERA in the AL East, baseball's toughest division. He has brought Boston two world series rings. How can you not pay a guy like that?
The older Lester gets, the more he seems to get better. While he doesn't throw a 94 to 95 miles per hour fastball as consistently as he used, he has learned to paint the corners and use all of his pitches to his advantage. That's not to say that he can't gas it up to 94 or 95 miles per hour. He can. But he doesn't have to. He's learned that you can't just always blow a fastball by major league talent. He's learned to use all of his secondary pitches and when need be, charge up that lively fastball.
On the open market, Lester is almost certain to get what he wants and quite frankly what he has earned (Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Justin Verlander). I have a hard time justifying how much athletes are worth anyways as at times I don't feel like someone playing a game is worth X amount of dollar's, but that's why I'm here writing about them and they're getting payed. The Red Sox absolutely blew their opportunity to work a deal before the season started, offering Lester a 4 year, $70 million dollar contract, because Lester earlier in the offseason stated he loved Boston so much and was willing to take the hometown discount and stay with the team. Little did Boston know that that low ball offer may have been the straw that broke the camels back. That is a ridiculous offer. More or less a kick in the nether region. Needless to say, Lester has put off talk's until the season is over. That ship has sailed.
Now the Sox have put themselves in a mighty predicament:
Trade Lester while the value is high with a big return or keep him with the chance to lose him at the end of the year for nothing.
There has also been a rumor floating around that while the Sox may trade Lester and get a big haul in return, that the Sox and Lester may have a handshake agreement on a return to the club in the offseason.
Don't make me laugh. I would love to see Lester return if that's the case. But why trade him at all? Why let it get to this point? He is in the middle of his prime years. He's still going to be an elite pitcher for the next 4 to 5 years. So pay him! When have the Red Sox even been a small market team? They are certainly turning into one and should they let Lester go and get unproven prospects in return, it'll be one of the bigger mistakes Boston has made in the last 20 to 25 year's.
Boston made this mess and they have to make it right. They should never let someone with Lester's pedigree ever leave without an honest fight and they may do so. If they have to trade him, they only have one chance to do so, so needless to say, my expectations of a return are very high. I highly doubt I'll know who's even coming back in a trade, which is wrong. They need proven talent back in a trade for their all-star pitcher. In reality, they shouldn't even be to this point, he should have been signed for the rest of his Red Sox and baseball career.
If he's going out that door, I don't expect to see him back and that's a damn shame.