Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Red Sox Hot Stove (11/19) - Jon Lester

Lester offer on the table:

The Boston Red Sox made a contract offer to pitcher Jon Lester when he met with the team's owners earlier this week, according to a major league source.

The terms of the offer were not disclosed, and the source said he did not expect Lester to make a quick decision.
For what it's worth, Peter Gammons said yesterday that, while the Cubs are going to talk with Lester, and would like to sign him, they think that he's going back to Boston. That would be a good thing.

One more thing on the whole Lester situation. There's at least one talk show host in Boston who has downplayed the possibility of Boston signing Lester, and disparaged the team for not signing him last spring, and has said, more than once, "they could have just signed him last spring." Maybe they could have. Probably they could have. But could they have signed him to a contract that a) would have made both sides happy and b) would have been significantly less than he's going to end up signing for now? It takes two sides to make a deal. The team could not unilaterally choose a contract; they had to negotiate a mutually acceptable agreement. It's possible that both sides could legitimately want to get a deal done and still fail to come to agreement on what's a fair deal under the circumstances.

How many players get to their free agency seasons and take significantly less than market value? Maybe he's willing to give Boston a "hometown discount," and take a little less from Boston than it would take for someone else to sign him, but neither side knew, last March and April, what the market value for Jon Lester would be. So there was no way to know what was a hometown discount and what was a bad deal for the player. I'm sure that Boston could have come up with an offer that he'd have signed, but probably only by over-paying in such a way that both sides would have known it was not market value. Basically, last March, the Boston Red Sox were bidding against themselves.

So I tend to find the criticisms of them for failing to sign him last March overblown. Disappointing? Sure. Evidence of venality or gross mismanagement? Nonsense.

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