Cubs' Jon Lester Says 'It Would Be Cool' to Return to Red Sox to Finish CareerMay 5, 2020
Chicago Cubs veteran starting pitcher Jon Lester began his career with the Boston Red Sox, and the five-time All-Star isn't ruling out finishing his career with the organization.
"I don't know what is going to happen next year," Lester told WEEI's Rob Bradford. "I know I have the team option, the player option, that sort of thing. We'll figure that out one way or the other. I will either be here or be a free agent. Obviously everything is open. I'm open-minded to anything."
The 2020 season, which has yet to begin as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, is the final guaranteed year on Lester's six-year, $155 million contract. Per Spotrac, there is a 2021 option that includes a $10 million buyout before he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
The 36-year-old continued with Bradford:
"Absolutely it would be cool to go back and finish my career where it all started. But, I've got a little time before I really have to sit down and weigh that decision, even if it's something where they want me back. Hopefully, I'm still a good enough caliber pitcher that the want of my services will still be out there for people. We'll see."
The Red Sox selected Lester in the second round of the 2002 MLB amateur draft, and he made his major league debut for the club in June 2006. He won two World Series in Boston (2007, '13) before getting traded to the Oakland Athletics in July 2014.
Lester signed his current contract with the Cubs in December 2014.
The left-hander led the National League in winning percentage (.792) during the Cubs' 2016 World Series run before pacing the NL in wins (18) in 2018. Last season, the 2016 NLCS MVP went 13-10 with a 4.46 ERA and an NL-worst 205 hits allowed. Trailing only the 1.65 WHIP he recorded as a rookie, his 2019 WHIP (1.50) is the second-highest of his career.