Bradford: Did Red Sox learn the lesson after Jon Lester had a problem?


FORT MYERS, Fla. – Oh, by the way, the Red Sox ruined everything five years ago.

It was the extraordinary admission of the main owner John Henry Monday. It happened and took place in the middle of the 22-minute meeting with the owner of the team, with no warning or very little follow-up. However, the proclamation made by Henry was something that was long in coming.

"I think we blew Jon Lester – we blew that signature at the spring training," said Henry. "So, for reasons that are quite obvious now, in which I will not go into the details, but that are obvious … But it was not … you can see what 's going on The price of WAR has increased dramatically (enough) that it is difficult, whether it is a pitcher or a position player who enters into a very long-term contract with a lot We did not have a great track record, maybe we did better with pitchers than with hitters and really long-term contracts. "

Although many things have happened since Lester left the city in the middle of the 2014 season, the importance of recognizing how far his negotiations were a huge misstep should not be underestimated. Was this the biggest mistake of the 18 year term of this property? It's just up there. And that's why it's absolutely right to focus on what happened five years later.

If you forgot …

Lester wanted to stay with the Red Sox. He was an ordinary person who felt comfortable in the only organization he knew. He will tell WEEI later that if the Red Sox offered him a $ 120 million five-year, five-year contract before the start of the 2014 season – the year of his contract – the work would be done. Instead, the Red Sox took the same approach they had adopted in previous negotiations – starting at an incredibly low level. In that case, it was $ 70 million over four years.

At the start of this 2014 season, the news was revealed to Lester. This was a leak caused by the launcher's teammates who were offended. The guy who had thrown the anchor into the starting stick of the 2013 World Series was like a debauchee like that. The Red Sox then responded with whispers that the pitcher's camp was not even giving a counter-offer, whereas in fact, the reason for the lack of a contractual rebuttal was due to the fact that Sox had set the starting point. From Lester's point of view, there was the feeling that any answer should be uncomfortably high to find an attractive middle ground. And if such a number were put on the table, there would be a risk of new leakage, unfairly painting the pitcher in greed.

Once again, all Lester wanted to do was stay in Boston.

Because in most of the early spring training, the negotiations remained in stalemate until the leftist was shipped to Oakland just before the deadline for non-waiver transactions.

If many of them think that the Red Sox do not match the six-year, $ 155-million Cubs offer (with a mutual option of $ 25 million in 2021), it's spring that really put life without Lester in the spotlight. If the Sox had just freed themselves from their project and realized that it should have been a turnkey process, life would have been extremely different.

Because of Lester's treatment, John Lackey asked to be exchanged, what he was. If both of these starters were stuck (with Lackey playing at least in the major leagues in 2015), there would have been the kind of rotation certainty that they ended up running unsuccessfully over the next few years. The five-ace plan of Rick Porcello, Justin Masterson, Clay Buchholz, Joe Kelly and Wade Miley resulted in a painful 2015, paving the way for the Red Sox to pay $ 217 million to David Price for the certainty that Lester would have provided much less.

And when Price was at the height of what Lester represented, the Red Sox had to double their game once again through Chris Sale, which cost two of the best hopes of baseball.

The Red Sox have obviously recovered. They have the 2018 World Series title as proof. But Henry's mea culpa should have a purpose, all the same.

They learned better their lessons.

1. Pony up for certainty and do not rely on projections for important points on the list.

Prolonging the sale is a little risky, but you know what he can do in a Red Sox uniform on the Boston stage. This is not a guy that you could believe could evolve into an ace. He is an ace and probably one for the majority of his next contract. Of course, Nathan Eovaldi could become something more, just like Eduardo Rodriguez. But do not base your hopes on what could be. Finding this type of thrower remains one of the most difficult feats of baseball, even if you have money. Do not think for a minute that replacing this position is a turnkey equation. This was not with Lester, and will not be for sale. Now it's a road where the Red Sox make a pied-à-terre with the nearest point. We will see …

2. Value the guy who can handle Boston.

This has not always been the case for the Red Sox skill sets, and it cost them. It's good to think that a guy can play on this market, but until they prove it, nothing matters. The Red Sox were convinced that Edgar Renteria, Julio Lugo, Carl Crawford, Erik Bedard and Pablo Sandoval could manage this world. Not even close. That's why it was so important to have the chance to witness Steve Pearce and Nathan Eovaldi. We now know that they can live this life. Lester was great. For Price, it took longer than the Sox had certainly bet. Dirty and Rick Porcello? Not a question.

3. Read the market and then do not joke.

It's understandable when the Red Sox offer JD Martinez what they did because you never want to spend money that you do not have to do to get a player . But with Lester, someone was going to pay him a lot more than $ 70 million. Do you remember Homer Bailey? He contracted $ 105 million over six years at the start of the Spring 2014 training. Homer Bailey was never Jon Lester. Yes, he was two years younger, but do you think someone is worried now? If nothing else, that should have been the starting point of the negotiations. As we now know, this was not the case. Set your realistic price early and go. That's what Dave Dombrowski finally did with Price and this should be the pattern for Sale and / or Porcello.

It was good to hear Henry admit the mistake of organizing in 2014. But it's only a matter of phase 1. Now comes the real journey to the mirror.

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