WEEI>On Demand>>Jon Lester feels like he has to prove himself this season

Jon Lester feels like he has to prove himself this season

Feb 8, 2013|

Kirk and Alex play some clips from an interview Rob Bradford did with Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester. They hear Jon talk about his upcoming contract scenario, whether he feels he's an ace and Jon talks about proving himself.

Transcript - will not be 100% accurate

Back on the hot stove WEEI. -- -- Alex here rob Bradford was with us last segment. He's down for Mars back to work but -- was great -- segment he sounded just happy in the sun it was it was great stuff -- it was illuminating. -- bit earlier today get a chance to talk to Jon Lester players and some spots from the first. Here's Jon Lester talking to rob but the next level rob asked him that sort of we talked about the beginning -- this idea of Lester. Is not yet made that you don't agree with quite made that -- to sort of that status we thought he might be a -- is people like Michael or Verlander goes. Fuchs and and -- -- degree being the next in line for the Pedro for a -- kind of like Pedro as showing a level of you know transcendent figures so -- best Lester bought that yours is yours. It's. I don't know. Understand is. Take last year's fifteen more -- four straight years. Pitchers did what next level is that's the thing that frustrates me. Is people don't consider -- days. From store bull when there's two pitchers in all of baseball did that it would him. Oh that's an argument. What extra level is impossible to win five games every year. I'm really. -- You know -- women's. Are not in my. Enough. Mean you look at last year on the quality -- How many games that lose well went eight innings you Angeles. So. I can't control the outcome of the game can control. Being healthy every five days ago there -- and that's what I consider -- Is I don't appeared yours. The number five guys opening day guard somebody in between if you take every five days and you it did you bust your -- yeah he. To me in my mind that some things. So. The next level I don't know the next I don't know what people want from me from the slow so. I've come to realize that you know I'm not concerned about an -- I'm not concerned about what people want from me I'm concerned with what I've done the past. Sixty years to do is take the ball every five days take pride in that bust my ass -- -- -- start. It's 200 innings. That's all -- can control. You know jumps out -- me Alex a couple of things first of all -- multiple ways. Quickly mentions one for 415 wins for years but that's as you know -- -- -- neutral and spread you wanted to do it because of that we did say I can't control wins. Yeah although again the problem is that -- the content his. I think that itself has he is one of the only three guys for those four years. Who had fifteen plus wins. In an ERA of 3.5 or below and obviously the RA. Is in many ways a more important number in a more revealing ones wins the time during this year's pay MCC and Roy Halladay. Were the only three guys in the majors to have that kind of consistency. Of winning with hello we -- technicals right 20082 leg. This idea from -- these almost like. We're expecting to go to 13524. ERA I mean yes some people would expect that that's what people thought. You were -- couple years ago a graduating. That kind of year that is the reason I think it's a people's eyes for discipline because you agree he's never had the kind of his best is not in Verlander is best is not sure that's not open. Yes I'll write it and that is to your point right he hasn't he hasn't won a Cy Young he hasn't had the year when he's been the best pitcher in baseball. He's been kind of among the best pitchers in baseball. And I do think that there was this sense that because of his -- because of his dominance because of his stuff. That he was capable of you know of being of of the Verlander -- season and the funny thing is he you know he could view that as a compliment right like the fact that people think that it -- -- stuff -- and I really do anything to stuff. You know during those during those four years was as good as anyone's and in the world. So the fact it does so he views it as as being dismissive of what he accomplished and there's some truth to that I do think that again. If you look at it across history you know it's kind of it was a kind of hall of fame caliber. Age 24 to 27 run. But at the same time you know that consistency was that was viewed as not being sufficient based on the fact that the peak. Wasn't that of you know the kind of transcendent Cy Young guy and I do think to be sensitive about that because I do think. As he wants to defend his record clearly he's sensitive about it. To -- guy in line. Here a year ago two years ago for one of those major you know. Enormous paid days off maybe now we just suffered juice bananas but he's come to an auctioneer Red Sox team option thirteen million dollars and the potential contract coming up. It's on the talked about again you're likely brought earlier today I mean and. You know even option so far away and now it's next year and it's an option you don't know you know obviously if I -- -- having good years. 99% it's gonna give it I -- have an OK year. Don't know you know there's there's there's that unknown of stability where we can be what we can do it in you know that someday it. A lot of people don't have to deal with a lot of people do and it's like you said the nature of the beast and it is what it is then and this of prime realized how much talk about it and move. It's -- -- ought to do I can't worry about that. Because if I go -- do my job this -- take care of itself but all -- -- much that's win. You the second questions in OK what about this that. You know with a boot and it is what it is you know you'd have to cross that bridge when when it comes in. That's how much try to do is pitch and cross bridge when it comes. So I mean it's hard for me to believe well short of falling off a cliff like. Them put another way. It's Lester has a year this year which he had last year -- and pick up their. I think as long as he's healthy health as the exploit her -- yes. Yeah I mean look they just gave thirteen billion dollars a year exact to Ryan Dempster they you know and the market for Edwin Jackson was and I was thirteen million dollars a year guy like an animal Sanchez. It's five years and 75 so yeah jobless -- If he's healthy. Then based on the upset play I think Dan Haren coming off -- injured season. Actually just got to when you're using million here's Rick it's interesting to me Lester this year. Eighteen and 8331. Point one you know strike old -- up a little bit then -- talk. That's the insisting one because the guys who have had extensions are at his kind of with with tech kind of performance track record have typically been more than a year out from free agency right so they've been you know Felix Hernandez who we were just talking about a little bit earlier. I'm just signed a five year extension with two full seasons left on his contract. And that was what you know that that was like 2728. Million dollars a year on those on those extension years. So that's what it starts to become. A little bit tricky because there was this one class of like of second extension second long term extensions where. You look to guys getting five years and in the vicinity of 8590 million dollars in needing cap Lester had you know great year in 2013. Prove it 2012 was the aberration of course the Red Sox would be comfortable going to you know going to like maybe. Nineteen -- twenty ish million dollars a year five years. For those five years. But then you get into the question of well what if it's 25 verify if he's proven they have that I second -- -- To have a picnic in the -- I just think they're not gonna give this guy 859000. Million dollars if they're being truthful about their philosophy. I don't -- it really knock on Lester. I don't see another way of looking at this is look at the predicament that signing Josh Beckett resigning Josh Beckett got -- -- because you know he was he had been really really good in in 2009. At the beginning of 2010 they say okay. Even though you're a year out from free agency we're going to attack on four years tonight in April or early -- April right yeah of it was a luxury -- -- -- there's obviously yeah I was basically with a year left on his contract. Four years right sixty -- victorious. Yes 68 million bucks. Ends that ended up and so in the year when in in the year that was his quote unquote lockyer. That ended up dropping as much as he was dreadful he would have to have cost them a lot less than bats had they waited until after the season. And then and then he was actually very good people you know and should remember for those first -- our 2011. Before it went off the rails the end of it men last year. Boy that contract looks terrible the last three years of that contract. -- his shoulder clearly having lost strength his fastball velocity diminishing you know that's is that what you would be looking out with Jon Lester if you were two -- sentiment. It's a tough one because the red socks love his make up the red socks love his you know his commitment to his work ethic. Things that we heard about Beckett as well of course. Lester would be younger than Beckett was Tonya he would have fewer and fewer innings I think logged on his career but. You know it's still any time you're talked about a pitcher in his thirties. To sign him to five years not there's there's a huge risk now no matter who it is if -- And he goes somewhere science five years is great good -- I would do it rob next talk to -- here this is interesting and I haven't heard talk too much about the -- seasonal issues that. That -- footer -- Myers with Kansas City. The rays ended up ended up Shia achieving with them in getting a huge prospector turned in addition to Myers -- getting them you know last well regarded pitcher but -- first it was -- and so rob asked Lester both the trade rumors -- -- we felt about that. After last year you know he yeah he did it -- people try to buy low. You know it -- Well maybe you know he's down years they can that's gonna get rid of them and try to. Maybe try to rebuild somewhere in this in the back in prospects. It is what it is his business. I don't. Whole thing here and I'll hold anything against. You know ownership of anything like -- business I understand. You know something that obviously. He need -- -- he used to you know it's it's different when your name out there first and oh man this could be possibility for them cross the line. So -- mean it's it's different but it -- in its business pain and walk out your house retreat. I mean it. It's the nature of what we do. It's and stability of what we do. You know you don't see the guys that. It drafting call -- careers anymore it's just. It doesn't happen as much used in. That's slow things all and -- -- earlier except that. I think the better off York regardless of courage and now. How much organization says day. Watching route its nature of what we do and that's. The quirky and realize that these here comes when things like last year this offseason come. Simple test your first test but it seemed like he was something he didn't really want to talk on anyone talking about it but I mean I think these overall message which he got around to it. Is true it was in this Izzy Izturis in the Red Sox are trying the get go get a guy he's also right I think. I'm sure teams looked at it and said you know it's a good chance to get this guy 10. So yeah Mecca at the customers located the other spots with a crazy open I could series comes from the. Couple things one is that the Red Sox were in a different position this year than they were ever before because. In the past they never would have discussed Jon -- at least in the last few years but because of the season they were coming off of for the first time they were really in position to actually listen on anyone on their roster rather than saying this the cornerstone player who we must keep. The second thing is. Lester is always had a very level head regarding trade rumors about him because he's actually being traded for -- he was going to go to the Rangers for Alex Rodriguez along with Manny Ramirez. And he's very cognizant of that. Over the years he's brought it up you know he's brought it up in casual conversation always a different guys on different guy now -- he wasn't sure but he's he was convinced that he was gone then he was convinced -- was on one other time in his career I think. When the yellow on rumors the on Santana rumors I got sprung up after the 2007 season he was convinced yet they're gonna deal for -- Honda -- a Minnesota twin. So he's not he's already kind of reconcile that his his. Himself to that even though he's also said when in in saying that that's the business part of the game that he really wants to finish his career as a Red Sox. Interesting this year with blustery comes -- as a guy. Coming off he really bad year for the first time now last year he came in. With different people or album for other reasons he finished badly but -- have a bad year but right and -- given the -- stuff arsenal fall people felt differently about him. And that -- before we saw coming off a year we presume. He was still the guy that -- this year is different. And rob asked about that Lester expand on. -- those votes that first month this offseason was tough. You know usually. If you spend the couple days here and there by myself whether it's. You know doubt farmer. You know just. Doing errands or whatever and I kind of reflect on things and think about. The season thing I think about how things went. But it seems like it is to mean. You know a lot longer than that to me couple weeks to come out. Filter through. Everything. So you know I think you could really throw any and every one of those words. In two you know my off season and into the spring training in. Into into my season and ready to. You know I've never been. I've never been on the side I've never had to prove myself. So. Using that as motivation. To go out. Person to myself that I am who I am. It's -- -- and I do think that you know for the first time this last stretch but it's something approved you name maybe he doesn't think that but this year he's a guy who you are looking at saying. Well I mean for a year he's been bad now he said you know I was bad one month that was grip and hit -- bad you should know. Yeah he was he had pretty good stuff in stretches -- right it's worth pointing out as well I do think that there were. You know if you were to take out this 13 start segment of -- season where his mechanics for just. Dreadful I mean god awful he basically was sticking his first his foot into the first base dugout on -- delivery. His his season has his numbers would look drastically different -- ERA would have been about three quarters of a run lower. And then you're talking about a guy who went like. Nine and eleven with about a four point one ERA in Germany was in evidence there is entitled nobody ever says notes take those three starts to -- at the -- of the matter is even without those three starts you know his season would have been decent it still wouldn't like our policy. Right rate without such a writes I think he looks at it now is a year. Legs were Ferrell made very well play a factor this is a year. For him to bounce back this financial reasons now this pride reasons the fans and don't feel the same way as Lester as they did a couple of years ago. You know he's one of these guys and I think if you don't want them up 12 whatever. There's no way can happen any worse than in the second or third most important member of this. He can absolutely be the best player on the team basically he can be the most valuable member of the Red Sox. But if you falls short of that you know if he if he repeats what he was last year in the gap between what he can be in what he is as we saw in 2012. Is so significant that it creates a real obstacle for the Red Sox if they wanna be really good teams so I I agree central central player essential contributor and he knows it too and she cares about it. Which I do think from a makeup standpoint that's why the Red Sox love him because he embraces that he's not going to hide from it. He wants to gotten in his own words kickass -- break we come back ESPN's Keith law talks about. The -- organizational rankings he had to Wear the Red Sox rank. In -- Major League minor league. System as that sounded great now and I was trying to say. Where the Red Sox rank among all thirty farm systems and laser should be one of my host al-Qaeda may actually host minor league shows I am to my experiences -- -- fly ESPN joints after a break and that's.

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