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Monday, December 8, 2014

Who To Blame For Lester Leaving Town

     Let me preface this by saying, Jon Lester has signed nowhere yet. Inside sources usually conflict with each other and in the Twitter age, it's more important to report something first than report it accurately. Now having said that, it doesn't look like Jon Lester will be coming back to Boston. The money being offered has gotten pretty high and the Red Sox likely aren't willing to match the figures being tossed around. This will leave Red Sox fans wanting to blame someone. But who should we bash endlessly online and sports talk radio? The Red Sox or Lester?
     In the early winter months of 2014 Jon Lester told us that he wanted to stay with the Boston Red Sox for the rest of his career and would even take a "home town discount" to do so. But when the Sox used the business 101 tactic of lowballing him, by all accounts, Lester's camp didn't come back with a counter offer. You can scream "I want to stay" from the mountaintops day and night but if you do nothing about it, how badly do you really want to be here? Perhaps Lester was beating the Red Sox to the punch , in that he got the fans on his side before Lucchino could gossip with all the girls about how Lester was a bad clubhouse guy he doesn't recycle or whatever other bullshit they'd pull out of their ass to try and save face. It's possible that Lester was lying to all of us and wanted to jump ship as soon as free agency hit and he could grab the biggest pile of money.
     The Red Sox, coming off of a World Series Championship, seemed very content with their success and did seemingly nothing to improve their club that was viewed as a group of overachievers. When they had the chance to lock down their ace, instead they slapped him in the face with an offer that they'll probably end up spending on another member of the Drew family. They seemed to be sticking to their philosophy that they won't sign pitchers over 30 to long term deals. But when the fans groaned loudly enough, the front office reversed course and offered him 6 years at $130 million. Once they decided they were all in for Lester, teams started lining up to outbid them.
     I've tried to give both sides in as unbiased a fashion as I could. So given the circumstances, who is to blame? There is a segment of fans that will boo Lester when he comes in to Fenway, throw out his jersey, and call him a traitor. To that group I'd like to explain why you're wrong. Jon Lester is not a Red Sox fan. He was an employee who felt disrespected by management. If you aren't being paid what you think you're worth and could earn elsewhere, do you stay out of blind loyalty? Or do you move on to a place that is willing to pay you? While Jon Lester probably does love and appreciate Red Sox fans as a whole, he has no connection to you as individuals. His job is not to make sure you don't get your feeling hurt. It's to pitch. And do so for whatever team wants his services the most. The Red Sox have made it clear, that isn't them. So don't boo Lester when he returns or call him greedy. The greedy ones are those with the extra 3 0's in their bank account that only dust off their wallets when NESN ratings are down and the team needs "sexying up".

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