Jon Lester Returns?

E5 Yaz

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sign a one-day retirement contract in ST ... then, during the season, throw out a first-pitch and get the applause then
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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What the hell, I’m on board. Come home, Jonny.
Fuck it. I'm fine with it.
Thanks for the memories.

Pass.
sign a one-day retirement contract in ST ... then, during the season, throw out a first-pitch and get the applause then
All appropriate responses. I’d welcome him back as a 5th starter next year.

CAVEAT: I’m several margaritas and Tecates deep, so I haven’t looked into the contract details too deeply.
 

Sprowl

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Given the threadbare starting rotation, I'd be quite happy with adding Lester as depth. Lester is durable and experienced, and his cutter has lost none of its bite. Also, if there's some bad blood left over from the Lucchino fiascos, an also-ran year with half a season lost is a good time to exorcise it.
 

scottyno

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He's been pretty bad the last 3 years, even 2018 when he had good stats, his peripherals weren't great. If the Cubs want to pick up something like 1/2 of his remaining contract sure maybe, but he looks like pretty much an innings eating 3rd or 4th starter at best now. If the Cubs aren't eating money there's no way they could fit him in under the tax.

edit: This also assumes that if they traded for him and then bought out his 2021 that that money would count towards the 2021 payroll not 2020, I'm not sure on the rule on that
 

mauf

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Other than everyone getting a full season of service credit no matter how many games are actually played, I don’t recall any details of the deal between the owners and the union on how to handle the upcoming season. Lester’s 2021 option vests if he throws 200 innings in 2020; that obviously won’t happen, but will the 200 innings be prorated for a partial season? He has thrown around 170-180 innings per season over the past 3 years, so 200 innings over a full season was probably beyond reach at this point of his career, but 100 innings over half a season might not be. Lester’s contract is radioactive if you think there’s any chance that 2021 option will vest.
 

jon abbey

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The original story is about his option (obviously) not vesting, so him hitting free agency this winter and being open to a return to Boston. The contract would be a newly signed one, there would almost certainly be no trade of the existing deal.
 

JimD

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I'd be on board for a one-year guaranteed contract at reasonable money with an option year based on incentives being met. He's probably a good bet to eat innings at the 4th starter slot, and maybe the added rest in 2020 gives him an opportunity to be even better. Plus it would be a good story.
 

RGREELEY33

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I have heard that 30-something year old starting pitchers with big contracts are ineffective in the twilight of their careers. Many, many people have said so. Pass!
 

Papelbon's Poutine

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Other than everyone getting a full season of service credit no matter how many games are actually played, I don’t recall any details of the deal between the owners and the union on how to handle the upcoming season. Lester’s 2021 option vests if he throws 200 innings in 2020; that obviously won’t happen, but will the 200 innings be prorated for a partial season? He has thrown around 170-180 innings per season over the past 3 years, so 200 innings over a full season was probably beyond reach at this point of his career, but 100 innings over half a season might not be. Lester’s contract is radioactive if you think there’s any chance that 2021 option will vest.
Yes, article says in it that the innings will be prorated.
 

Vegas Sox Fan

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His option for next year is $25m with a $10m buyout. The one thing Lester has been is consistently durable but the article speculates that the Cubs won't let him throw enough to allow the option to vest. I'm not sure how that plays out but I imagine not very well. I could see an agreement between the two where if he is healthy enough to vest the option that they agree to opt out and pay the buyout. I think that would put Lester looking for that missing $15m in a free agent deal. If that's the cost on a one year deal, I would do it. Maybe with another innings based option for the second year.
 

donutogre

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I'd be pretty fine with this, I feel like his ceiling is a bit higher than fifth starter still personally. We threw plenty of guys last year with ERA+ below 100, and he has a 108 on average the last 3 season. Granted, it's trending down, but he threw a 126 in 2018. Obviously how the pandemic affects literally everything about the business of baseball and when this could happen makes it hard to say how this would work out, but I'd be happy to have him on the Sox again.
 

Comfortably Lomb

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Fastball fell to 90.8 last year, down from sitting somewhere over 93 for most of his career, and likely slower this year. His H/9 rate spiked up significantly, and he's started to give up more dingers. Still likely useful in a rotation but the end is near. Personally, I'd rather remember him as a front of the rotation guy than watch him stagger across the career finish line.
 

chrisfont9

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If you look at his game logs from just last season, you see a guy who has a lot of really strong nights in him. He had 18 quality starts, mostly very good ones, five poor starts, and 8 complete shitshows. He had four undeserved losses, and I know we don't care that much about records, but if he's 16-7 instead of 13-10, do we see him differently? The trick is to figure out what's left of the old Lester, and my hunch is, there's a decent amount left. I'd argue that as a top-level pitcher gets older, the game logs might be more valuable than his overall numbers since he's more susceptible to minor fitness stuff that can throw off a start, but that's just a hunch on my part.
 

allmanbro

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Along the lines of the one-day deal, if he likes Boston, I wonder if you could make an unorthodox pitch for a kind of retirement tour: a one-year deal where he slots in as a bulk guy/middle reliever/spot starter. He throws 100-120 innings, where the team works hard to only put him on the mound in situations where he will succeed. So his rate stats look good (or better than the otherwise might), and he gets to compile a little. He also gets to take it easy, enjoy one last tour, soak up the cheers from Sox fans, and play mentor to a young team that has a shot at a WC run.

I know this basically never happens because that's just not the kind of mentality that gets you to the Major Leagues. But there's a model there for an ending career that allows you to finish on your own terms, but still play a little longer.

Lester's 2021 situation will also depend a lot on how effective he can be in whatever portion of 2020 happens (if any).
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Just no. Hard, hard no.

If he has some affinity for the Sox, let him sign a one-day contract and retire in the uniform.
I don't understand the "hard, hard no". Without knowing the contract (dollars and length), I can't say definitively one way or the other if him coming back is a good idea. I mean, it's definitely a no if it's a multi-year deal paying him eight figures a year. But a one year deal at reasonable money, say a maximum of $10-15M, shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. Particularly when we don't know what the 2021 landscape is going to look like yet.
 

Kliq

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I think this rotation is terrible. Lester had an ERA+ of exactly 100 last season and threw 171 innings. If we can get 171 innings of perfectly average starting pitching I'd go for it.
 

chrisfont9

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This is painful to read.




The truth can hurt
Or not, depending on what exactly the truth is. The Porcello comparison is not good. Porcello is 31 and has put up three bad-to-abysmal seasons in his last five years of his prime. Lester is a declining superstar whose numbers say he still flashes his abilities, but not consistently. "Inconsistent" with Lester seems to be game to game. With Porcello, he goes off the rails for entire seasons. Of his prime. They have very little in common, other than the hardware they won for the Sox.
 

Average Reds

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I don't understand the "hard, hard no". Without knowing the contract (dollars and length), I can't say definitively one way or the other if him coming back is a good idea. I mean, it's definitely a no if it's a multi-year deal paying him eight figures a year. But a one year deal at reasonable money, say a maximum of $10-15M, shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. Particularly when we don't know what the 2021 landscape is going to look like yet.
The post immediately after mine and two before yours provides the general answer:

If we wanted Porcello back, we could have just signed him to a one year deal.
Of course, there is a significant difference between Porcello and Lester, which is that Porcello isn't afraid to throw over to first.

I'd also say that while Porcello and Lester are very different pitchers, they would serve the same role for the 2021 Sox, which is to eat innings. Seems like there are plenty of arms to fill that role for far less than what Lester would cost.

Hard no. (For me, at least.)
 

donutogre

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The post immediately after mine and two before yours provides the general answer:



Of course, there is a significant difference between Porcello and Lester, which is that Porcello isn't afraid to throw over to first.

I'd also say that while Porcello and Lester are very different pitchers, they would serve the same role for the 2021 Sox, which is to eat innings. Seems like there are plenty of arms to fill that role for far less than what Lester would cost.

Hard no. (For me, at least.)
Not knowing what he's cost is the big question, for sure. But it's foolish to Porcello and Lester with the same brush. Lester has had one season with an ERA+ below 100. Porcello did in two of his last three years. Porcello is both younger and worse than Lester, both in his career and in recent years. Yes, they'd both be innings-eaters, but I'd much rather have an innings-eater at a 100 ERA+ vs. the high 80s.

Last year, the Sox got 65 starts that went to guys whose ERA+ for the season ended up well below 100. I'd much rather give 25 of those to Lester.

Usual caveat applies of not knowing what kind of deal it would take to get him here, and also that obviously the fricking pandemic fucks with everything so it's hard to say exactly when he'd be coming here, how much time off he had, etc. I'm just thinking about it in normal world terms right now.
 

mikeot

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I'd be on board for a one-year guaranteed contract at reasonable money with an option year based on incentives being met. He's probably a good bet to eat innings at the 4th starter slot, and maybe the added rest in 2020 gives him an opportunity to be even better. Plus it would be a good story.
I think this rotation is terrible. Lester had an ERA+ of exactly 100 last season and threw 171 innings. If we can get 171 innings of perfectly average starting pitching I'd go for it.

There ya go. Always a sucker for a good story.
 

BaseballJones

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Lester, last 3 seasons: 4.03 era, 108 era+, 4.25 fip, 32 g per year, 178 innings per year, 1.38 whip, 8.3 k/9, 1.7 bWAR per year

Last year, EdRo was better than this. Sale had better FIP, WHIP, and k/9 numbers, but worse era, and only pitched 147.1 innings. Price had better FIP, WHIP, and k/9 numbers as well, but he only pitched 107.1 innings. Porcello was a catastrophe compared to Lester. Then they had 26 starts made by this group:

Velazquez (5.43 era)
Cashner (6.20 era)
Weber (5.09 era)
Johnson (6.02 era)
Smith (5.81 era)

I mean, anyone who wouldn't prefer Lester over this motley crew is crazy. So to me it all depends on $$$$$$.
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Isn't being a LHSP infinitely of more value than a RHSP anyway? Especially in Fenway/the AL/the AL East?

If they can sign him on the cheap, sure. Worst case scenario he goes to the bullpen or retires early when he gets the piñata treatment from guys who are barely hitting the Mendoza line.