It was December of 2003 that the Boston Red Sox first considered trading Jon Lester. He was going to be a throw-in in the mega-deal sending Manny Ramirez to Texas for Alex Rodriguez.
The attempted trade was nullified by the players’ union because it would reduce Rodriguez’s salary.
It would have been one of the biggest goofs in Red Sox history and, if the deal was made, Boston may still be looking for its first World Series title since 1918.
Ramirez played big roles in the 2004 and 2007 title runs. Lester helped in 2007 and was huge in 2013.
Now Boston is looking to trade Lester again.
Another big mistake?
This time, the issue is about money. The Red Sox don’t want to pay the going price for proven, big-time starters. Depending on who you asking, that rate seems to be about $25-million a year, for at least five years. Lester said he would take less to sign with Boston, but the Red Sox initial offer was so low (four years, $70-million), we’ll never know what Lester would have settled for.
With the 2014 season in shambles, there is no sense in Boston holding onto Lester, especially if the Red Sox have no intention to sign him – and it appears they never did.
The Red Sox have a lot of young pitching talent. It is asking a lot for anyone of them to fill the void of Lester’s absence.
We first saw Lester in New England when he was winning 11 games for the Portland Sea Dogs in 2005. Until this year, no pitcher for the Red Sox-affiliated Sea Dogs has won more. Now another lefty holds the record. Henry Owens improved to 14-4 Tuesday night. See today’s story.
Another promising lefty, Brian Johnson, pitches at noon today. He may pitch a gem, but all the attention Wednesday will be focused on the news coming out of Boston.
The Red Sox are finally trading Jon Lester. They would have regretted it in 2003.
How about now?