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(Bob Stanton/USA TODAY Sports)
Eric D. Schabell
Contributing Writer

The Red Sox were very aggressive out of the gate this off season, signing their closer and targeting more free agents to boot.

We had no idea that it would be this clear in the market that a top tier pitcher would be next.

Without a doubt Red Sox fans, they are interested in the available crop of top tier free agents like Cole Hamels, James Shields, Justin Masterson, Francisco Liriano, Ervin Santana, Japanese sensation Kenta Maeda, Johnny Cueto and maybe even Andrew Cashner.

Let's look closer at these, shall we?

Signing one good starting pitcher is hard, let alone the two they are gunning for this off season.
  • Cole Hamels - wants his 2019 option picked up and the Phillies will expect top prospects...
  • James Shields - turns 33 in a few weeks, which the Red Sox have stated they won't sign long term 30+ and he has a 5.46 postseason ERA...
  • Justin Masterson - belongs in the bullpen...
  • Francisco Liriano - has a career 4.33 ERA in the American League...
  • Ervin Santana - below league average in two of his last three seasons and allowed 65 homers in his last two American League seasons...
  • Kenta Maeda - latest Japanese sensation, weighs 160 pounds in his cleats and threw 1,303 1/3 innings in his first seven seasons in Japan...
  • Johnny Cueto - not tested in the AL ballparks...
  • Andrew Cashner - not tested in the AL ballparks...
Hamels is plenty good. But Jon Lester for $144 million and six years is far better than Hamels at five years for $110 million and three top prospects.

The solution is to step up and go after Lester.

Go after him with a vengeance.

Go hard.

Go long.

Don't give up.

Don't mess around.

Beg if you have to.

Call his agent and ask what it will take to sign Lester to a fair market deal. Maybe five years and $125 million with added on sixth year with a vesting option would work.

Time to shift gears into championship mode.

Recruit Lester if you have to.

Send flowers to his wife to apologize for shipping them off to the West Coast last summer.

Have Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz talk him back into the clubhouse.

Send Lester the complete collectors edition DVD set of Duck Dynasty for Christmas.

If the Red Sox want to be serious about the 2015 season they need Lester.

Period.

He is healthy, he responds well to John Farrell and in his way, he had become a leader of the team. When spring training starts, Farrell should be able to gather up the pitching prospects, point at Lester and say, "Go do what that guy does."

Lester, some other starter, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly and one of the younger prospects isn't a perfect rotation, but you can compete. It’s one that will sell tickets.

The good news is that as of today they have gotten serious about Lester.



In this report it says, "The executive said he did not rule out a six-year offer for at least $20 million a year."

That's spot on target for fair market compensation.

The Sox drafted and developed Lester. They agonized when he had cancer and celebrated when he beat it. They watched him win two World Series.

Get him out of that Athletics uniform, back into Red Sox colors and on the mound at Fenway.

He might be turning 31 on Jan 7th, but if hey ain't worth the risk then who is?

Post a comment or via twitter @erics_redsox with your thoughts.

More by Eric D. Schabell

Eric D. Schabell 11/11/2014 02:34:00 PM Edit
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