Manager John Farrell said that he believes remains in the mix for free agent Jon Lester. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO — Though there was a report on Monday that the field for Jon Lester appears to be narrowing to the Giants and Cubs, Red Sox manager John Farrell said that his team still believes that it has a shot to bring back the free-agent left-hander.
“I think we’re still confident that we can sign Jon. He’s obviously still going through this free agency process. As we came into this offseason, there were a couple spots in the rotation that we needed to add to and address. We’re in the midst of that right now,” said Farrell. “We’re still optimistic that he’ll be in a Red Sox uniform. There’s a lot of history between the Red Sox and Jon. We obviously have a strong desire to bring him back, and yet hopefully this is coming to a little bit of a head here.”
Farrell said that he’s been in contact with Lester — either through a phone call or texts — three or four times this offseason. While in some respects the Red Sox — and the rest of the baseball industry — must wait on defining the shape of their rotation until Lester makes his decision, the manager did not express any frustration about the lack of resolution.
“Jon’s going to go through his process as he needs to. He’s earned the right to get to this point in his career. And he’s a primary target for a number of teams. That speaks to his abilities as a player and as a pitcher,” said Farrell. “I think we’ll address every other need accordingly.”
Lester is coming off a year in which he went 16-11 with a career-low 2.46 ERA in a career-high 219 2/3 innings while punching out 9.0 batters per nine and walking 2.0 per nine. Farrell said that his dominant performance in his age 30 season showed a pitcher who has figured out how to adapt and remain a top-of-the-rotation contributor.
“He’s made necessary adjustments as any consistent big league has to make adjustments as they go through the league multiple times and year over year,” said Farrell. “That speaks to his work ethic and his awareness of who he is as a pitcher and how he can be most effective.”
That has convinced the Sox to make a heavy play for the left-hander. Whether the team ultimately goes far enough to retain him remains to be seen, but Farrell made clear that the Sox’ preference is to re-sign Lester.
“We’d love to have Jon back in a Red Sox uniform,” he said.