Jon Lester maintains that he would want to return to the Red Sox even if traded. (AP)
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — With the trade deadline now four days away, Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester remains one of the most fascinating candidates on the market. The left-hander is at the point where he wouldn’t be surprised by a trade, but the Sox would have to get tremendous value in return for him.
That being the case, it’s worth noting that one way the team could get greater value for him in a trade would be if he negotiated an extension with the club that acquired him. If landed as a multi-year contributor, the potential prospect return for Lester could increase considerably.
However, it’s a road that Lester is unlikely to go down. He reiterated the notion that his preference is to be with the Red Sox in 2015 and beyond — even if traded for the duration of this year — and so he finds it hard to fathom that he would be able to make a long-term decision about playing in another city during the very narrow window afforded by the trade deadline — particularly given that Lester said he doesn’t plan to make a decision driven purely by securing top dollar, but instead wants to ensure that he is happy with all facets of any team with which he signs.
“Probably not, just based on the fact that going in, you know nothing about it,” Lester said of his willingness to consider an extension. “I think sometimes you can get blinded by success. Especially you come from here, right now, we’re not playing so good — you get traded to a contender, we’re back on the winning trail, everybody is happy when you’re winning. It’s always roses. You can never see the bad when you’re winning. I wouldn’t say never, but it would have to be ideal — you would have to fall into a perfect, perfect scenario.
“But my ultimate goal would be to come back here. That would be, like I said the other day, I know that’s hard to do. I know it doesn’t happen very often. But I understand it. I get it.
“Money doesn’t buy you happiness. There’s some guys, that drives them. That’s great,” said Lester. “For me, I want to be happy. I want to be comfortable. I want to be in a place that wants me and appreciates what I do.”
One additional note: One industry source suggested that there has been no meaningful dialogue about a rumored trade possibility involving the Red Sox and Dodgers that would have the Sox sending Lester to Los Angeles with Matt Kemp coming back to Boston.