Jon Lester was recently traded from the Boston Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics in a blockbuster trade involving Yoenis Cespedes. Athletics General Manager Billy Beane has been questioned in the past for not acquiring players for current production rather than future plans. Jon Lester has told the media he is open to finding the best possible scenario for him, keeping every team up for consideration that is willing to give him a long-term deal. Will he return to Oakland, Boston, or possibly surprise everyone by taking the biggest offer on the table.
Oakland GM Billy Beane recognized that Cespedes would most likely walk because Oakland is a small-market team and could not afford to give long-term extensions. However, Lester is in a similar situation and Beane must have completed the deal knowing that if he walks, receiving a compensation pick is the worst possible scenario for Oakland.
Lester has been phenomenal this season, posting a 2.51 ERA with 13 wins on the season. He is pitching tonight to end the weekend series against the Atlanta Braves. If Lester continues to throw as he has been all season for the Red Sox and pitches effectively in the postseason, he will receive a large contract estimating $20 million per year. Oakland will have to let him go simply because they cannot afford him.
I see Lester finishing the year off well and will head back to Boston because they can offer him a long-term deal. Boston has younger pitching in Triple-A ready to make the rotation next season, but they will need an ace like Lester to mentor those prospects. If they want to win in the 2015 season, they will make sure to acquire Lester this offseason.