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. Berkman -- Alex here rob Bradford was with us last segment. He's down for Meyers back to work but -- was great Mets 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 -- but the next level rob asked him that sort of we talked about the beginning Hawks 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 -- -- of people like Michael or Verlander goes. Felix Hernandez -- 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 here's Izturis. It's. I don't know. Understand is. Take last year's fifteen more games four straight years. Pitchers did what next level is that's the thing that frustrates me. Is people don't consider mean he's from our bowl when there's two pitchers in all of baseball did that it would him. Oh that's my argument 21. Extra level is impossible to win 25 games every year. I'm really. -- You know because wins. Are not in my. Enough. Mean you look at last year on the quality starts. How many games -- 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 pitch 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 did you bust -- -- 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 next well so. I've come to realize that you know I'm not concerned about an -- I'm not concerned about what people 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 in between teams in each start. It's 200 innings. That's all like -- 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 -- you know when -- -- neutral and spread you wanted to do it because of that we did say I can't neutral wins. Yeah although again the problem is that -- the -- 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 in split time during those years him CC and Roy Halladay. Were the only three guys in the majors to have that kind of consistency. Of winning with what we RA 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 -- right -- 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 sentence fit because of his -- because of his dominance because of his stuff. Did he was capable of you know of being of of the Verlander type season and the funny thing as he you know he could view that as a compliment right like the fact that people think that it is capable starters and I really do think his 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. QB 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 -- and and -- but he's come to an option year 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 -- on having good years. 99% it's gonna give it I go and 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's something that. 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 and and this a -- realized how much talk about it and move. It's -- -- ought to do I can't worry about that. Because if I don't do my job this -- take care of itself I don't go out -- job that's win. You the second questions and okay 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 that bridge when it comes. So I mean it's hard for me to believe well short of falling off a cliff like he -- put another way. It's Lester has a year this year which he had last year distant and pick up there. I think as long as he's healthy health as the -- director -- yes. Yeah I mean look they just gave thirteen million dollars a year exact to Ryan Dempster -- you know and the market for Edwin Jackson was -- I was thirteen million dollars a year guy like an animal Sanchez. It's five years and 75 so yeah Jon Lester. 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 -- million -- -- it's interesting to me Leicester this year. Eighteen and 8331. Point one you know strikeouts go up a little bit -- Woody talk. That's the insisting one because the guys who have had extensions are at his kind of with with that 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 -- 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 -- 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 and you think Jeff Lester had you know great year in 2013. -- -- 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 to five he's proven they have that I Beckham or right. -- have a picnic in the sign I just think they're not gonna give this guy 859000. Million dollars if they're being truthful about their philosophy. I don't see it doesn't 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 he snagged him in April or early -- April right yeah of it was a luxury tax things away 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 -- year. That ended up -- 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 rely -- our 2011. Before it went off the rails the end of it -- last year. Boy that contract looks terrible the last three years of that contract. With 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 to -- sentiment. It's a tough one because the red socks love his make up for 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 -- 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 you know. And he goes somewhere -- five years is great -- I would do it rob next talk to Leicester here this is interesting and I haven't heard talk too much -- -- -- -- that. That deal footer on Myers with Kansas City. The rays ended up ended up -- achieving with them and getting a huge prospector turned in addition to Myers also getting them you know -- well regarded pitcher but yeah first it was -- and so rob asked Lester -- do you trade rumors in the offseason we felt about that. After last year you know -- yeah he did and you people try to buy -- You know it -- Well maybe he has you know he's down years they can that's gonna get rid of them and try to. Maybe try to rebuild somewhere in -- and back -- the of prospects. It is what it is this business. I don't. Holed anything. And I'll hold anything unions. Ownership -- anything like that business I understand. You know it's 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 I mean it's it's different but -- -- mean -- business some pain and walk out your -- -- -- -- 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 it in. That's slow things all out and and he's listed earlier except that. I think the better off York regardless of courage and now. How much chances day. Watching -- it's its nature of what we do and that's. The quicker you can realize that these here comes when things like last year this offseason come. -- -- 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 he's overall message what you 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 look at it and say you know it's a good chance to get this guy -- oh. So yeah Mecca at the customers located the other spots it was a crazy open I mean 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 has always had a very level head regarding trade rumors about him because he's actually been 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 -- is -- different guys on different guy now than 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 to -- on rumors the on Santana -- I got sprung up after the 2007 season he was convinced yet they're gonna deal for -- Honda I -- 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 in as a guy. Coming off he really bad year for the first time now last year he came in. With different -- album for other reasons he finished badly but -- have a bad year but right and finish given the -- stuff arsenal's fault people felt differently about him. And the year before we saw coming off a year we presume. He was still the guy that from -- this year is different. And rob asked about that Lester expanded on. Most votes that first month this offseason was tough. You know usually. If you spend a 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 think think about how things went. But it seems like it it took me. 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 you know ready to. You know I've never been. I've never been on the side -- never had to prove myself. So. Using that as motivation. To go out. Person to myself that I am who I am. It's -- -- -- guy and I do think that you know for the first time this last stretch but it's something to prove to name maybe he doesn't think that but this year he is 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 I was grip and hit that you should know. Yeah he was he had pretty good stuff in stretches at -- 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 a season where his mechanics were just. Dreadful I mean god awful he basically was sticking his first in his foot into the first base dugout on every delivery. His his season has his numbers would look drastically different his 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 adults take those three starts to -- -- -- the type of matter is even without those three starts you know his season would have been decent it still wouldn't like our lower -- Right -- without such a right so I think he looks at it now is a year. And -- 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 line them up 12 whatever. There's no way can happen any worse than in the second or third most important member of this team. 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 fall 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 players central 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 the -- 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 in the -- should be one of my -- -- -- -- actually host minor league shows I am to my experiences Kirk. Keith law ESPN joints after a break and that's.

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