BOSTON -- A couple of Red Sox players said early Saturday afternoon that they are convinced former teammate Jon Lester will re-sign with Boston as a free agent during the offseason.
Lester’s former teammates were curious how he would fare in Oakland as a rental pitcher, and the left-hander made a relatively easy transition to the AL West by leading the A’s to an 8-3 win over the Kansas City Royals at the Oakland County Coliseum. Lester worked 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on nine hits, with one walk and three strikeouts to improve his record to 11-7.
The pitcher received help from some old friends. The A’s scored eight runs in the win, but five were driven in by former Red Sox teammates. Gomes provided two RBIs, while Jed Lowrie, Josh Reddick and Nick Punto contributed one apiece.
“I think being traded to this team was a blessing because I knew so many guys on it,” Lester told reporters in Oakland.
Purely a rental for the Athletics, the team that owns the best record in baseball and could contend for a World Series title this season, Lester will gain a lot of attention from the free-agent market. Many believe there’s no way he will re-sign with Boston, because it goes against conventional wisdom. They say that other clubs, maybe even the Yankees, will open their wallets and offer Lester well above market value.
But even if other clubs offer Lester a big contract, a few Red Sox players believe he will take less money to return to Boston. Lester is cut from a different cloth, they argue. He worked so hard to achieve the success and consistency during his entire career in the Red Sox organization. He has a special bond with John Farrell, as both a former pitching coach and now manager. Plus, he was disappointed about leaving Boston, they say.
If that’s the case, and Lester returns to the Sox as the ace of the staff while Cespedes continues to hit cleanup, the players and fans in Boston would be thrilled. But don't get your hopes up. It's probably just wishful thinking.