Red Sox have been cheap AND arrogant with Lester

Red Sox have been cheap AND arrogant with Lester
July 15, 2014, 3:45 pm
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And to make matters worse, they're arrogant. The way they've handled the Jon Lester contract negotiations makes me want to throw up.

I'm well aware of the risk involved in signing a 30-year-old pitcher to a five- or six-year deal. However, it's a greater risk to let Lester walk. Who's going to take his place?

This year is about playing the kids. I get that and support it . . . this year. Quite frankly, the Red Sox should never suck two seasons in a row. Xander Boegarts and Jackie Bradley Jr. will have a year under their belts and Christian Vazquez will have a half-season of experience, so this team should play better in 2015. It's going to take longer than a year to fix the outfield, so I'm not demanding the Sox return to the World Series. However, I am demanding that they be competitive and challenge for the playoffs.

This will not happen if Lester hits the bricks.

There's a chance that if Lester signs for five years and $125 million, he won't pitch up to the value of his salary in the last two years of his contract. SO WHAT? Big-market teams overspend to keep a guy and that’s what the Sox should do with Lester.

After getting burned by contracts they gave Josh Beckett, John Lackey, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford, the Red Sox have become fearful of the big deal. What John Henry and company need to realize that some times you pay the money and sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you'll get the worst of it and sometimes you won’t. It's not all or nothing. But right now they are in the “nothing” phase of adding to their roster.

I don’t know what’s worse; acting miserly or acting arrogant. Right now the Sox are guilty of both. Jon Lester has been nothing but a class act and a hell of a pitcher during his days here. He helped the Sox win a World Series in 2007 and, in my opinion, was the MVP of last year's World Series. The dude was locked in during the playoffs last season. He was a freaking beast. So what do the Red Sox do? They treat him like crap. Despite what Larry Lucchino claims, 4 years and $70 million is not a negotiating starting point. It's an insult to one of the team’s best players.

Being the class act that he is, Lester didn't create a stink. He simply declined the offer and said they wouldn't talk contract during the season. And yet the front office tried to do just that! The lefty told John Heyman of CBS Sports that he was "thrown off" by the Sox' desire to talk numbers after he said he would only talk contract once the season was over.

John Henry, didn’t you hear the man? He doesn’t want to talk to you!

So now the Sox leak that they were ready to offer Lester a $100 million deal for five years. Lester told Heyman he didn’t hear any such offer. I guess management didn’t have time to spit it out before Lester and his reps told them to get lost until October.

But $100 million for five years isn't going to get it done, either. Lester deserves, and will get, a minimum five years for $25 million per.

Unfortunately, because of the Red Sox arrogance and frugality, it will be somewhere else.