BOSTON -- Not only do Red Sox fans want Jon Lester to return and re-sign with Boston as a free agent, a couple of former prominent pitchers hope he does, too.
Red Sox Hall of Fame inductees Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens said Thursday they believe Lester, who was traded to the Oakland Athletics on July 31, should return and finish his career with the Red Sox.
“I hope he comes back, because he’s the perfect guy to actually have in the clubhouse, influence kids and I think Les is a guy that I’m against seeing him leave,” said Martinez, who is also a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington. “Openly, I’m going to say I’m not happy that Lester is not here anymore. I would like him to come back, and we had that talk in the outfield, during bullpen sessions, during games.
“I hate to see Lester is gone because he’s a workhorse, he’s a good example in the clubhouse, he’s a role model in society, he’s a good role model and family member. He’s everything you need for a young group of guys that are developing. Lester is one of the guys that we have to really hope that he comes back, because he’s probably the right guy to have in front of all those young kids we have.”
In an interview with the Boston Herald’s John Tomase this week, Lester admitted he has not ruled out a return to the Red Sox and he would not simply play for the highest bidder once he becomes a free agent after this season.
Many Red Sox players recently told ESPNBoston.com that they also believe Lester will return. Clemens and Lester have become good friends and the two visited when the Red Sox played in Houston earlier this season.
“I think that’s a great idea,” Clemens said of Lester’s possible return. “I think, even though Oakland’s doing something right, and they’ve been doing things right, I think [Boston] is a pretty good home for him. I just enjoy watching the guy pitch.
“I just like his mindset. You can see guys, like Jon, or like [Clayton] Kershaw, who get over that hump and know they belong and then they just blossom into a great pitcher. I mean, it’s incredible to watch guys and then they have to make adjustments every year. You can have a great three-year or five-year career but to have staying power, you really have to make adjustments in your game and stay focused, because you’re going to rack up a lot of at-bats against certain guys that you’re going to see a lot in the league.”
Like Lester, Clemens was homegrown in the Red Sox organization and the seven-time Cy Young Award winner would like to see Lester back in a Red Sox uniform.
“I enjoy watching him pitch,” Clemens said.