He’s likely to be the most coveted free agent once the 2014 seasons ends. Jon Lester will see offers that will boggle his mind. Teams that have stacks of cash will try to flash those stacks in front of him, but Lester told John Tomase of the Boston Herald that he’s “not going to the highest bidder”.
Since Lester says he won’t go to the highest bidder, could that keep Oakland in the mix? That’s unlikely as the A’s don’t typically hand out such deals. Oakland did ink Scott Kazmir to a $22 million deal for two years. With the trade of Cespedes, releasing of Jim Johnson and acquisition of Lester, Kazmir is the team’s second highest paid player…at $9 million. Lester is collecting the residual of $13 million, but the cash Oakland received might cover that.
The deals like Lester is likely to be offered – which will involve crazy money – aren’t Billy Beane’s thing.
It appears that Lester kind of views himself as a rental as much as anyone. Per Tomase…
“It’s going to be two months, or hopefully three, build some good relationships, and then shake hands and go our separate ways.”
So where did Lester he would prefer to go? “I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”
Boston, eh? Let that sink in for a minute. Imagine a Jon Lester return to Boston.
The dynamics of the deal that sent Lester, Jonny Gomes and some cash to Oakland, and the Red Sox acquired Yoenis Cespedes takes on a different vibe. In essence, the Athletics would get Lester as a rental for two to three months, Gomes for next season, the money, and the Red Sox would sign Lester and have Cespedes.
Tomase states that upon Lester’s departure from Boston, Lester was told by members of the Red Sox brass that they will be aggressive in pursuing him. Since the trade, similar news has hit with the same message: Boston wants Lester back.
But the Red Sox have work to do if they desire for Lester to return. There were reports of a four-year, $70 million offer. That would provide Lester with an average annual salary of $17.5 million. That’s the exact average annual value the Cincinnati Reds awarded to Homer Bailey (six years, $105 million). Now how many believe Lester is deserving of a deal that would give him a higher AAV than Bailey?
And Lester is philosophical about the money.
“In the greater scheme of things, we’re talking about just a stupid amount of money,” he said. “For me, I want to be comfortable. The way I look at it is, if someone gives you $170 million and someone gives you $150 million, is that $20 million really going to change your lifestyle? Same thing if the highest bidder is $100 million and the team you’re going to feel most comfortable with offers $80 million. Is that $20 million really going to make the difference in your lifestyle?”
A refreshing point of view by Jon Lester. Don’t hear this much as salaries escalate to stupid heights, if I may use Lester’s adjective in reference to the amount of money.
I suppose we can now refer to Lester as the anti-Zack Greinke.