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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Jon Lester: Free Agency Won’t Be Driven By Money, Still Open To Red Sox Return | Boston Red Sox | NESN.com

So he’s saying there still is a chance.

“(The Red Sox) told me (after the trade to Oakland), ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these (other) offers,’” Lester told the Boston Herald. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be blown out of the water.’ Why would I need to be blown out of the water? That doesn’t make or break your decision, at least for me. I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”

Read more at: http://nesn.com/2014/08/jon-lester-free-agency-wont-be-driven-by-money-still-open-to-red-sox-return/

Jim Furtado Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:02 AM | 44 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: free agency, jon lester, red sox

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   1. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:07 AM (#4769995)
I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy.


Which will TOTALLY COINCIDENTALLY probably be the highest bidder.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:16 AM (#4769997)
How are the schools in Boston? Do they compare to Denver?
   3. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:25 AM (#4770005)
Which will TOTALLY COINCIDENTALLY probably be the highest bidder.

Hey, oodles of money makes his family happy.

Of course you file this one under, "When they say it's not about the money, it's about the money."
   4. BDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 09:52 AM (#4770029)
To be fair to Lester, it's not unheard of for a guy to take slightly less insane much money for a team or city he prefers. It's still about the money, in the sense that he wouldn't settle for a non-insane amount :)
   5. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:00 AM (#4770042)
Normal people with normal lives sacrifice money for various other factors, including family, all the time when considering job offers. I don't understand why such sacrifices aren't made even more often in the sports world, where guys get ridiculous amounts of money and can more easily sacrifice marginal increases in salary.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:01 AM (#4770044)
To be fair to Lester, it's not unheard of for a guy to take slightly less insane much money for a team or city he prefers.

Even that's pretty rare. Beltran did offer to play for the Yankees for less than the Mets gave him. Maddux famously wouldn't tak the Yankees money.

Usually though, they just get the preferred team to match the high offer.
   7. Nasty Nate Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4770045)
To be fair to Lester, it's not unheard of for a guy to take slightly less insane much money for a team or city he prefers.

Right, I think it became a hip thing to say that players always go for the biggest offer, because it showed you weren't naive. It is a good rule of thumb, just slightly exaggerated (especially because knowledge of the offers is imperfect).

That being said, I predict Lester will sign with whoever offers him the best deal, financially, and that it won't be the Red Sox.
   8. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4770048)
Right, I think it became a hip thing to say that players always go for the biggest offer, because it showed you weren't naive. But it is a good rule of thumb, just slightly exaggerated (especially because knowledge of the offers is imperfect).

Yeah, it's like "Never split 10's" in black-jack. There are very rare exceptions to that (if you count cards), but it's close enough to true.
   9. DKDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4770051)
“(The Red Sox) told me (after the trade to Oakland), ‘We’re going to be aggressive


Isn't that tampering?
   10. PreservedFish Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:22 AM (#4770060)
Normal people with normal lives sacrifice money for various other factors, including family, all the time when considering job offers. I don't understand why such sacrifices aren't made even more often in the sports world, where guys get ridiculous amounts of money and can more easily sacrifice marginal increases in salary.


Well, two things here.

1. "Marginal increases" is one way to look at it. "Many millions of dollars" is another way. Obviously these guys are all set for life, but it's still tough leaving millions on the table.
2. People on this site always overestimate how important the home base is for these guys. A baseball player spends about 4 months on vacation, 2 months in Florida/Arizona, 3 months on the road, and finally 3 months in their "home" city. 3 months where you are working long days with weird hours and probably won't spend too much time enjoying the cultural life of the city. So who cares where the team is based? Yes, it would still be nice to have your family with you the entire time, but millions of dollars are nice too.
   11. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:30 AM (#4770066)
People on this site always overestimate how important the home base is for these guys. A baseball player spends about 4 months on vacation, 2 months in Florida/Arizona, 3 months on the road, and finally 3 months in their "home" city. 3 months where you are working long days with weird hours and probably won't spend too much time enjoying the cultural life of the city. So who cares where the team is based? Yes, it would still be nice to have your family with you the entire time, but millions of dollars are nice too.


That's a very small part of the package. I think players underestimate the differences in working environments from one place to another. The list of players who chased the biggest dollar in FA and later regretted the choice they made becuase the new club/location wasn't a good fit isn't exactly a small one.
   12. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4770068)
Yes, it would still be nice to have your family with you the entire time, but millions of dollars are nice too.

A player signing a Lester sized contract can afford to have his family travel with him if he so chooses.
   13. bigglou115 Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:32 AM (#4770069)
@10, more than that, I would think at the income these guys are operating at they'd be capable of living anywhere. Schools aren't as good, hire a tutor. That kind of stuff. There's probably not much difference, place to place.

I do know that during the Cliff Lee bidding war something like this happened. It was really the Yankees and Rangers, and he was settled on Texas. He was having kind of a final discussion and he mentioned that he liked his time in Phillie, so his agent (Bronicker) called the Phillies and worked out that weird deal that created a potentially higher AAV but looked like he was taking less money.
   14. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:33 AM (#4770071)
A player signing a Lester sized contract can afford to have his family travel with him if he so chooses.


Yes, but keep in mind you're the only person on the planet who thinks that's a good idea.

   15. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4770072)
Isn't that tampering?


I'm pretty sure that it is.
   16. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4770074)
Yes, but keep in mind you're the only person on the planet who thinks that's a good idea.

Scott Brosius had his wife and children travel with him year round. I'm sure he's not the only player.

Lester's kids are 1 and 4. No reason they can't hire a tutor or home school them for a couple of months a year.

They won't actually need to be in school year round until he's near the end of this contract. There's not much beyond the 3 R's you need to learn before age 10.
   17. The Good Face Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:36 AM (#4770075)
Normal people with normal lives sacrifice money for various other factors, including family, all the time when considering job offers. I don't understand why such sacrifices aren't made even more often in the sports world, where guys get ridiculous amounts of money and can more easily sacrifice marginal increases in salary.


Because money = respect for professional athletes. Their compensation is public knowledge and professional athletes are usually incredibly competitive people anyway; the combination leads to a tendency to not leave any money on the table.
   18. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:41 AM (#4770078)
Scott Brosius had his wife and children travel with him year round. I'm sure he's not the only player.


Then he lied to Bleeding Yankee Blue about his retirement (or, at least he stopped the practice):

For me, the decision to retire was more of a family decision than a baseball one... I had other offers to play, but I just really felt it was time to be around home more. I was missing so much of my kids life being on the road, and you can’t get that time back.
   19. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4770079)
Because money = respect for professional athletes.


And hookers.
   20. DKDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:42 AM (#4770080)
There is also tremendous pressure from the union to accept the highest offer.

Players who leave money on the table or take hometown discounts are publicly and privately crucified.

Agents also subtly or openly guide their clients towards the biggest paycheck.
   21. Ziggy Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM (#4770081)
I get the impression that there's a lot of low-level tampering that largely goes ignored.

#17 has probably got it. Think about what counts as success in your profession and how much you'd like to have that* - a big paycheck is that for these guys.

* Well, may this won't work too well. You guys are posting on a baseball message board during work hours, after all.
   22. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:49 AM (#4770083)
Then he lied to Bleeding Yankee Blue about his retirement (or, at least he stopped the practice):

Probably stopped when they got older. He married when he was 23. I can see it being not doable with teenagers, but with very little kids, it could work.
   23. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 13, 2014 at 10:56 AM (#4770089)
Probably stopped when they got older. He married when he was 23. I can see it being not doable with teenagers, but with very little kids, it could work.


It's doable with very little kids (before they start getting interested in playing baseball, softball, etc., which is pretty damn young). And provided the wife doesn't mind living in godforsaken hotels with small children for three months a year, which seems like a pretty unappealing existence to most people other than you. And she should get a say.

   24. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4770092)
It's doable with very little kids (before they start getting interested in playing baseball, softball, etc., which is pretty damn young). And provided the wife doesn't mind living in godforsaken hotels with small children for three months a year, which seems like a pretty unappealing existence to most people other than you. And she should get a say.

Do you really think MLB players stay in "godforesaken hotels"? With hi $150M+ contract, Mr. and Mrs. Lester can stay in the Presidential suite of the best hotel in every city they visit. Of course, they may not want to do it, but it's there as an option.

The parents may decide that spending an extra 4 months a year with their father is worth delaying or forsaking team sports. Or they can live in a warm weather state where the kids can play sports in the winter.

The basic point is that with $150M, you can can shape your life pretty much anyway you choose.
   25. BDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:02 AM (#4770093)
the wife doesn't mind living in godforsaken hotels with small children for three months a year

I get this image of the kids roaming a motel parking lot stealing change from cars and selling cans of soda they've jimmied out of the vending machine.
   26. BDC Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:04 AM (#4770097)
No, obviously these guys are rich and live where they want. The Cliff Lee situation shows that it cuts both ways, because his family was going to live in Arkansas no matter where he signed. Hence the atmosphere of his teammates and organization, and of his home park and fans, was a factor for him – though as noted, the money in Philly was excellent too.
   27. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:09 AM (#4770099)
Do you really think MLB players stay in "godforesaken hotels"? With hi $150M+ contract, Mr. and Mrs. Lester can stay in the Presidential suite of the best hotel in every city they visit. Of course, they may not want to do it, but it's there as an option.


Any hotel is godforsaken if it's where you're living three months out of the year.

The basic point is that with $150M, you can can shape your life pretty much anyway you choose.


And most women with small children would not choose to live a life that involves hauling small children through one airport after another, checking into one hotel after another, just to spend a couple of hours a day with daddy on game days.

There's a reason your one example of a guy who did it is of a guy who wasn't doing it - the Mrs. Scott Brosii of the world quickly realize it's a pretty crappy existence.
   28. PreservedFish Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:11 AM (#4770101)
Sounds like not a great situation for the family. Schlepping around the country so they can spend 2 hours with dad in a hotel suite in the morning before he goes to work. Wife puts the kids to bed at 8:30pm, quietly watches the hotel television for 4 hours before dad gets home.

edit > or, what SOSH U is saying.
   29. Squash Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:16 AM (#4770104)
I think it's less about the quality of hotels and more about living with kids in hotels and moving every 3-4 days for 3 months of the year. Kids are nesters and require lots of stuff. Setting them up, then packing them up every few days, then setting them up, then packing them up, etc., for a couple months every year would get old pretty quickly.

Edit: Jinx.
   30. Dale Sams Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:22 AM (#4770108)
And most women with small children would not choose to live a life that involves hauling small children through one airport after another, checking into one hotel after another, just to spend a couple of hours a day with daddy on game days.


My wife carps when we go to KC to see a single 3 game series. And I can't blame her.
   31. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM (#4770116)
And most women with small children would not choose to live a life that involves hauling small children through one airport after another, checking into one hotel after another, just to spend a couple of hours a day with daddy on game days.

Well, yes. But most baseball wives are faced with the prospects of their husbands chasing skirt while on the road, so the schlepping (with lots of paid help) might seem preferable.
   32. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:41 AM (#4770121)
Well, yes. But most baseball wives are faced with the prospects of their husbands chasing skirt while on the road, so the schlepping (with lots of paid help) might seem preferable.


Yes, because that would ensure he never, ever has sex outside the bonds of matrimony.

Seriously, if you can't trust the rogue unless you're keeping an eye on him every night, you've probably already lost the battle.
   33. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4770128)
Yes, because that would ensure he never, ever has sex outside the bonds of matrimony.

Seriously, if you can't trust the rogue unless you're keeping an eye on him every night, you've probably already lost the battle.


Keeping yourself and your spouse out of temptation is a good way to reduce the chances of cheating. I mean, fidelity is not a binary thing.

I would guess guys that spend 90 nights a year in bars and clubs with single friends and hot women have a lot harder time staying faithful (even if they want to) than guys who spend those 90 nights with their wives.

I, for one, would never take a job that required a lot of business travel, or entertaining. Why put yourself in a position to do stupid things?
   34. Poster Nutbag Posted: August 13, 2014 at 11:54 AM (#4770139)
I get the impression from her Twitter account that Natalie Punto and the kids may also travel with Nick. I think it is rare for a family to travel with a ballplayer, but it does happen.
   35. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 12:00 PM (#4770146)
I get the impression from her Twitter account that Natalie Punto and the kids may also travel with Nick. I think it is rare for a family to travel with a ballplayer, but it does happen.

Doug Christie and his wife are another famous example from the NBA.
   36. PreservedFish Posted: August 13, 2014 at 12:40 PM (#4770173)
I, for one, would never take a job that required a lot of business travel, or entertaining. Why put yourself in a position to do stupid things?

Even if it was a great job?
   37. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 12:43 PM (#4770176)
Even if it was a great job?

Yes. I don't like travel, independent of that. But, my wife hates being separated, and I respect that.

I make enough to live comfortably, why would I want to make her unhappy?
   38. PreservedFish Posted: August 13, 2014 at 01:22 PM (#4770205)
Fair enough.
   39. Hank G. Posted: August 13, 2014 at 02:03 PM (#4770260)
To be fair to Lester, it's not unheard of for a guy to take slightly less insane much money for a team or city he prefers.

Even that's pretty rare. Beltran did offer to play for the Yankees for less than the Mets gave him. Maddux famously wouldn't tak the Yankees money.


That most selfish of all players, Alex Rodríguez was willing to restructure his contract and play for less in Boston, but the union wouldn’t let him do it.
   40. The TVerik of Lordly Might Posted: August 13, 2014 at 02:15 PM (#4770269)
1. "Marginal increases" is one way to look at it. "Many millions of dollars" is another way. Obviously these guys are all set for life, but it's still tough leaving millions on the table.



That most selfish of all players, Alex Rodríguez was willing to restructure his contract and play for less in Boston, but the union wouldn’t let him do it.


This is the point that a lot of us are missing (or intentionally overlooking) in the periodic clothes-rending threads around here about impending FA's playing for less in Pittsburgh because they make so much that they can afford to indulge their love of... Pittsburgh.

There are a lot of people counting on them to squeeze every last dollar out of free agency, which most players only hit once while in their "prime". From agents to non-spouse family members to financial advisors and financial planners to the player's union itself (and, I'm sure, the "posse" of bodyguards, publicists, and other hangers-on and their families), there is a lot of pressure for players to take the highest bid. Start doing the math of compounding interest between the most insane and second-most insane bid, consider that it's only five or six years of your life in that place (and, as #10 points out, it's only a few months a year in that place) in order to put your grandchildren through college, and it's very difficult to say "no".
   41. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: August 13, 2014 at 03:12 PM (#4770327)
That most selfish of all players, Alex Rodríguez was willing to restructure his contract and play for less in Boston, but the union wouldn’t let him do it.


That's different than encouraging players to take top dollar in free agency. They can't *make* him do it. But renegotiating a contract for less money, without getting something of equal value in exchange for the renegotiation, violates the collective bargaining agreement, and the Union is *required* to oppose that (and file a grievance if it happens). There was some talk that Selig was going to approve the contract and try to win in arbitration, but A-Rod said he wouldn't go against the Union and nixed the contract.
   42. The District Attorney Posted: August 13, 2014 at 03:33 PM (#4770351)
Jeff Passan: Jon Lester delivering greatest free-agent season for pitcher in more than 15 years
The Los Angeles Dodgers lavished $147 million on Zack Greinke after a season in which he put up a 3.48 ERA. Lester's is nearly a run lower. The Phillies gave Cliff Lee a $24 million-a-year deal when his Fielding Independent Pitching – a metric that predicts future performance as well as any using strikeouts, walks and home runs allowed – led the league. Lester's this year is even better. His ERA and FIP top CC Sabathia's in the wake of his remarkable stretch run with Milwaukee in 2008, destroy those of Barry Zito before his $126 million contract and best all the second-tier pitchers who got paid: Anibal Sanchez and John Lackey and A.J. Burnett and C.J. Wilson. Even the pitcher expected to fetch more in free agency than Lester, Detroit ace and reigning Cy Young winner Max Scherzer, trails Lester in ERA and FIP.

To find a starting pitcher better than Lester heading into free agency takes a trip one generation into the way-back machine. In 1998, Kevin Brown booked a 2.38 ERA and a 2.23 FIP, and while Randy Johnson's were both higher than Lester's, he threw 244 1/3 innings – Lester is on pace for 233 1/3 – struck out 329, dominated after a deadline deal to Houston and ended up signing a four-year deal with Arizona during which he won the Cy Young all four seasons.
   43. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: August 13, 2014 at 04:09 PM (#4770400)
His ERA and FIP top CC Sabathia's in the wake of his remarkable stretch run with Milwaukee in 2008,


That seems to be entirely a product of the run environment the pitchers were operating in (their ERA+ figures are pretty much identical). Given CC's certain innings advantage by season's end, and just how good he was with Milwaukee (rather than Cleveland), I don't see Lester's 2014 eclipsing CC's 2008.
   44. PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth) Posted: August 13, 2014 at 05:21 PM (#4770466)
Even that's pretty rare. Beltran did offer to play for the Yankees for less than the Mets gave him. Maddux famously wouldn't tak the Yankees money.


And he did it in part because he wanted to play for a winner. Try explaining that to anyone born after 1985.

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