Brian Hines (@BringLesterBack)
The other night in the AL Wildcard, the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals took the field to see who would advance in the playoffs. It was a come from behind thriller for Kansas City and advanced them to the next round. Now the Boston Red Sox must have been watching this game. It featured two, free agent ace starting pitchers, who have both been linked to signing with the Red Sox. Their names are familiar ones, James Shields and Jon Lester.
Shields would be a solid addition to the rotation, but he's no Jon Lester
Shields' name has been all over Red Sox roster projections and rumors. He seems to be the guy Boston is looking at to sign to lead their rotation. He is familiar with the AL East having spent the beginning of his career and Tampa Bay, and goes by the nickname of "Big Game James". He is a quality pitcher who is durable and won't command the highest contract, but Boston needs to go after the familiar ace, Jon Lester.
The Red Sox made a big mistake by not signing Lester to a long-term contract earlier in Spring Training, as they offered him a laughable low contract. Lester has went to have the best season of his career, which has only driven up his asking price. But the reason he needs to be back here is that they know his makeup and that he can pitch here.
After failing to resign Lester in the offseason, he was traded to Oakland.
He will hit the market this offseason after having his best season yet.
Lester has stressed that he won't necessarily go to the highest bidder this offseason, but instead go to the place where he and his family feel the most comfortable. The Red Sox front office and fans are hoping this is Boston. It only helps that his son, Hudson, has asked Jon when they are going to return home (Boston), following the trade to Oakland. But recently Lester put his house in Newton, MA on the market. Is that a sign or not, we don't know.
The Red Sox need Lester as the ace in front of their rotation next season. They will definitely make an offer but they expect to be 'blown out of the water' by some of the other offers. But we do have the advantage of his family and him being comfortable in Boston. I feel if Boston comes close in terms of years and money, Lester could find himself right back here in Boston.
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