Bye Bye Jonny Lester

But is it a bad thing?

Well, it sure as hell is right this second.  Unless you love you some Clay Buchholz as your #1 starter.  And Joe Kelly as your #2.  And from the collection of Allen Webster, Brandon Workman, Rubby de la Rosa, Anthony Ranaudo, Steven Wright and several others, your #3-#5.

YIKES!!

Some of the latter names, as well as some kids not mentioned, may well turn out to be great major league pitchers.  But they aren’t close right now.  So when you spend jillions of dollars to beef up your lineup with the Fat Panda and Hanley Ramirez, the pitching staff should follow suit, no?

But I am not panicking yet.

Listen, I have said all along I wanted Lester back and would have overpaid to do just that.  Although I’ve never considered him a true ace and under normal circumstances, I would not in a million (pun intended) years give him a 6-7 year contract for 150 mil plus at the age of almost 31.

But as I have also explained, these are not normal circumstances.  Look at the rotation names above.  That’s pretty much all you need to see.

Too late now.  It actually may have been too late once the Red Sox management, in their infinite wisdom, decided to start the negotiations at 4 years, 70 million back in the spring.  Look how close that was.  Fair negotiations are one thing.  Lowballing is another.  Being total morons are completely another.

Bashing the ownership trio of John Henry, Tom Werner and Larry Lucchino, however easy it seems to be to do, is somewhat difficult for me actually.  After all, these guys have brought Red Sox fans THREE World Series Championships in the last decade.  After having none for 86 years.  Can’t really complain about that.

But you have to wonder about them sometimes.  That initial offer to Lester is laughable, these days even for a back end rotation guy it seems.  No less a guy that has come through your system, helped win 2 of those World Series’ (not to mention being lights out in them), overcome cancer while here, also has overcome the whole “chicken and beer” smear and blah, blah, blah.  These guys are businessmen, I get it.  They are trying to negotiate a deal that works in their favor, while also hoping that Jonny would give them the ol’ “hometown discount” (banking on something that Lester himself had said he would likely consider).

Sometimes you just have to ante up though.  Pinch your pennies elsewhere.  If they anted up in the spring, Lester may have signed for something along the lines of 5/100.  Once he had the great year and generated a ton of interest, that price obviously went up.  5/100 would have been reasonable.  6/155 that the Cubs gave him is downright stupid.  But also necessary, based on the market this winter.  If the Cubs get 4 pretty good years out of that, the deal is likely a good one for them.  Curious to see what triggers the 7th year at 15 mil.  A little excessive, if you ask me.  But the Cubs didn’t, so whatever.

I actually think that Lester wanted to return here.  He left them in the loop until the end.  And in the end the Sox offered 6/135.  Jon wasn’t leaving 20 mil (potentially 35 mil) on the table for sure, so he moved on.  Can’t blame him for that.  On top of that, makes you wonder if the Sox owners actually wanted him here in the first place.  Starting with the lowball offer last spring.  Along with the fact that they absolutely could’ve come up and matched the Cubs offer.  But they didn’t.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, John Henry went down and met with Lester and talked legacy and all that stuff.  I’m thinking right now though that it was all for show.  Make the Sox fans believe they tried to sign him and make them look good.

I’m not buying “the recruiting” right now myself.  Listening to Ben Cherington talk today and him saying stuff like “we went as far as we could go” and “we were looking for more dialogue, but we didn’t get it”.  Makes me want to vomit.  Are people really going to buy this crap?  I guess Ben is just reading off the script the trio gave him.  But still…

Anyway, back to the “not panicking” comment.

It’s December.  Still plenty of time to mold the roster for April.  Still plenty of available players, both free agents and through trades.  The Sox have plenty of “assets” to deal.

I’m not ruling out a run at Max Scherzer either.  Yes, he would be more expensive than Lester.  And he is about the same age.  Scott Boras represents him.  All of that.  But he is probably the better pitcher overall.  He has pitched pretty well in the postseason as well.  Would be a true #1 ace.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not expecting it.  But it wouldn’t surprise me.  Since he will be out there for a while since that is how Boras does business, it may depend on how desperate the Sox get.

I think they will investigate other (read:  cheaper) options first however.  I was screaming for them to deal some of the kid pitchers LAST offseason.  They had plenty with good prospect rankings.  And they had yet to be potentially exposed in the majors to that point.  But they didn’t make deals.  Of course then some of them were exposed in the majors a little last year…and not in a good way.  Hopefully all the shine is not off of all of them for good however.

They also have a glut of position players on the roster.  OK, so I am not necessarily counting guys like Jackie Bradley Jr., Will Middlebrooks & Allen Craig.  Or even Daniel Nava or Brock Holt…who are nice pieces, but aren’t exactly going to bring you an ace back…or anyone close to that.

But they have Yoenis Cespedes to start.  Even with only one year left on his deal, and sure to command big dough after that, he should bring you a significant return.  Then you can try combinations of others to make something work.  I’m not interested in trading guys like Blake Swihart, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts or Henry Owens.  But if someone blows you away, all bets are off.  Everyone should be available for the right price.

I’m also in favor of building a great bullpen.  Overpaying for relievers is much different than overpaying for starters.  The back end consists right now of Koji Uehara, Junichi Tazawa and Edward Mujica.  Maybe Brandon Workman goes back to the late innings in 2015, where he had so much success at in late 2013.  This is a nice start, but a lot more work needs to be done here.  As silly as that Andrew Miller contract was, I probably would’ve signed him for that (4/36).  Sox can afford it if he washes out.  Guys like Luke Gregerson and David Robertson are no longer available.  So to get an impact reliever, the Sox may want to act fast in this area…for free agents anyway.

But there is time for the rest.  Let’s see what happens and then we can judge it when all is said and done.

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About mpdenton

I am a passionate and life long fan of the local teams...and by local I mean New England. I remember the days of Ray Bourque, Larry Bird, Steve Grogan and Wade Boggs...meaning I have lived the highs and lows of the Boston sports scene. With all this pent up Boston sports emotion, I clearly have a lot to say about the local teams and sometimes about sports in general. Maybe even the Revolution... I appreciate you reading my blog and hope you enjoy my rants.

Posted on December 10, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. I think the ownership does not get a free pass. I agree that they brought 3 rings to a team that had been desperate for just one in 86 years. But I think that any CEO or owner of an entity has to first and foremost provide guidance to what they are trying to do – what is their mission statement? In this I feel this collection of clowns has failed.

    Werner is such a nerd when it comes to the team he is just along for the ride. Watching and listening to him interact with the media is painful. He certainly doesn’t have a clue about the long term goals, nor could he discuss it. He would just start some awkward chant as if he was leading a bunch of pre-school kids. Henry, as they stated on Boston sports radio, is just plain awkward. No surprise from someone who seems more comfortable trading wheat and corn futures than interacting with other humans. Look at his track record – whenever he seems to get directly involved bad things happen. ARod (okay that might have turned out for the best), Texeira, Lester etc…he couldn’t close any of them. Probably because he walks in and thinks that he can give them a pair of Dr Dre headphones and a ride on his boat and they will be in awe of him…nope. They see the scarecrow coming and probably laugh behind his back – he cannot relate to anything other than a spreadsheet. Then there is Larry….talk about someone who speaks out of both sides of his mouth. What a smug and arrogant leader. He has made some terrible decisions. Bobby Valentine being exhibit A.

    These owners, for the success they have brought to the Red Sox, are still viewed as carpetbaggers. All Henry cares about is making his grandchild, I mean his wife, more money – reason for Fenway sports, buying Liverpool, NASCAR etc etc. But none of them seem to have a plan, other than keeping the marketing value and merchandising value as high as they can. Werner is blissfully idiotic. Larry Lucchino runs the Red Sox….as the scarecrow stated. And he is running it depending on the direction of the wind. Team wins WS…okay don’t spend anything. Team stinks, okay go get some headline names – like Fat Panda (who I think is going to seriously disappoint), oh our fat DH Papi is bellyaching and the pink hats like him, give him an extension….as long as Larry can artificially keep the “stock” price high and diversify his revenue stream – bricks etc – then he is happy. And let us not forget the PR machine they will unleash on their enemies. Some of it is right out of J Edger Hoover’s playbook – probably when Henry learned this from. The way they treated Tito. The way they appear to be spinning things about Lester. The way they moved Theo out….

    I agree that we need to withhold overall judgement on this off season until, well the off season is over…but focused on this specific situation, this ownership team gets a big fat F. They failed miserably and take us as idiots and think they can spin it…they do not get a free pass!

    • Harsh! But not totally out of line, unfortunately. I think their mission statement may change every year. 2012, they went against who Cherington wanted as manager (although Dale Sveum was a bum anyway) and went with Bobby V. I actually didn’t mind the hiring, but thought Bobby V. would be, well, Bobby V. Not someone who was muzzled from the start and then just was a clown himself. 2013, they signed a bunch of guys on short term deals, hoping to bridge the gap to all the prospects. Problem is, they won the Series, which even they did not expect. So that changed 2014’s plan, where they inexplicably thought they could do nothing and compete again. Now 2015 has changed, where they started throwing big money around again with Panda and Hanley. We will find out what 2016’s plan is, once we see how this year goes.

      The spin is disturbing for sure. Can’t wait to see what else comes out about the Lester “talks”. Probably more chicken and beer allegations. Or that Lester really didn’t have cancer, he was in rehab for heroin. You know some bad mouthing will come out, unfortunately.

      These guys are clowns, I agree. But also tell me how many owners are NOT clowns? I bet if we looked across all the 4 major sports, even throw in soccer if you wish, and you will find a 75% rate of clown owners. After all, half of the NFL owners are spoiled kids that did nothing…except inherit a team from their Dad’s and/or Granddad’s hard work that got them the team in the first place…

      • I agree and I think that is the main issue – the mission statement changes every season. That is beyond frustrating. Granted every teams’ mission statement should be to win. But it is how they go about trying to achieve that goal that is key. The Oakland A’s are going to go via the money ball route, the Yankees will buy free agents, the Dodgers will do the same, the St Louis Cardinals manage their farm system and ahem, training to restock their rotation and bullpen, the Astros are just going to be terrible and hope they can…ah never mind they just suck. What are these collection of clowns going to do? One year it is, load up on FA, one year it is trade the farm for the likes of AGonzalez or Schilling, one year it is “oh our prospects are the greatest, can’t spare a single one.” It feels like they are a politician that just looks at the poll numbers and says whatever the polls tell them to. No way to run an organization.

        As for owners, I totally agree. To have enough eff you money to purchase a professional team you clearly are beyond a type A and have stepped on some people to get where you are … and may have an ego. Or if you inherited the team from the family…then you have major entitlement issues.

        What is different from this collection of clowns is that they do things like shove bricks down our throats. They create artificial events around the team…remember the one where they tried to create the largest toast for the Guiness Book of World Records? Or when they brought back the WS team for a 7 year anniversary…what???? They are looking to appeal to a broad audience, which means they cater to the lowest common denominator which means they insult their true customers’ – the real baseball fans. They also seem to want to command some of the lime light. Tom Werner up in the booth during a game, sounding like a total idiot. Or his trying to start a cheer. Anything Lucchino does. Even Henry’s daughter, I mean wife. Getting a show on NESN etc etc. Add to all this the fact that all three owners are in their own ways, completely awkward in public, does not help. At least if the team had one true owner then we could laugh at that owner – Jerry Jones – and dismiss him as that crazy uncle we have to deal with at Thanksgiving. But with this collection of clowns it is a real…circus.

      • I’m starting to get a good inkling of your feelings toward Red Sox ownership…ummm…nope, I’ve had that inkling for a while! Definitely all fair points, especially that joke “7th anniversary”, but what can you do? I wish I had the money to buy a team to act like a total jackass like most of those guys do! Who knows, since it is all about money, I may do the same stupid things they do…like sell bricks. Hard for me to say, but yes on this side it appears laughable sometimes for sure.

  2. Who cares the red sox suck

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