This Jon Lester story with the Red Sox may not be going down the way we want it to. By that, I mean it lacks the drama and hatred between the two parties that we want to believe exists.
Jon Lester spoke to the media, including CSNNE.com's Red Sox insider, Sean McAdam, before today’s game in Toronto. He was asked to respond to ownership’s comments that there will be no negotiations between the two until the end of the season. Lester said, “That wasn’t news to me. We talked about that and that has been kind of established." Lester did chuckle at the beginning of his comment as if to say, “No kidding.” This could indicate a frustration with the Sox or just with the report that, to him, isn’t news in the first place.
Then he was asked if this effects whether or not he is likely to be here. “Not in my mind,” was his response.
DARN IT! Where's the hatred?! Where's the attitude of a scorned lover?! Where's the damaged ego that would cause Lester to say, “The Red Sox will rue the day that they disrespected Jon Lester!!”
Sorry, all lovers of drama and controversy. It just ain’t there
Wait. It gets worse!
Delaying talks until the end of the year doesn’t change Lester’s desire to stay here. Often if a star player gets to his walk year, it’s all over. Lester says no. And then he said “it was nice” that Larry Lucchino and John Henry said negotiations would cease until the end of the year because it would put all the talk to rest.
WHAT?! They lowballed you! They insulted you with a $70 million offer! You're not supposed to pay evil ownership any sort of compliment!
But he did. Again, nothing to see here folks.
This was the straw that broke the camel of conroversy’s back.
He was asked if this situation had impacted his desire to be here. “No. I don’t think it has gone bad. I think it’s hard for people to believe because we are not in the room with these guys. Everything has been a positive conversation. We left spring training shaking hands and saying let’s go get another World Series. There were no hard feelings. People bad mouthed their offer. Like Larry said it was an offer. It was a reference point to start. It didn’t hurt my feelings. I understand the business side of it.”
So many times we wish for an athlete to act like a mature adult. We need to be careful what we wish for, because when they do it's boring.
So far Lester’s feelings are not hurt. My fear is that will change when the Red Sox don’t meet his number, which Lou Merloni has said on CSN is in the neighborhood of five years for $125 million. If the Sox don't meet that figure he will have no choice than to take a larger offer, probably from the Yankees, and this will hurt Lester’s feelings. Not so much that the Sox didn’t pony up for him but because he will have to leave a city (Boston) he loves living in and a team (the Red Sox) he loves playing for.
It will be a shame if Lester walks because not only does he have a minimum of three All-Star quality years left on the mound, but he's one of the few star Red Sox players who isn’t bitching and moaning all the time or trying to shoot his way out of town. And that’s why if Jon Lester does walk away from Fenway, it will hurt my feelings.