The Red Sox traded Lester and outfielder Jonny Gomes to the Oakland Athletics before the trade deadline in July for outfielder Yoennis Cespedes. Lester went 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for Oakland.
The 30-year-old Lester spent the first eight-and-a-half seasons of his career with the Red Sox, winning the World Series in 2007 and 2013. Lester reportedly rejected a four-year, $70 million contract in spring training, and the Red Sox have been reluctant to give a long-term contract to a player over 30 in recent years.
On Tuesday, however, Cherington said Lester was "of obvious interest" to the team, CSN New England's Sean McAdam reports.
“I think we’ve always said that we have a preference or a presumption towards [shorter] deals,” Cherington said. “But it’s never been a hard policy. We’ve made some exceptions, and I’m sure there will be another exception. So it’s a case-by-case thing. If all the boxes are checked, I’m sure there will be a longer-term deal that makes sense, just as we’ve done some of those in the past.”
We need to add to the rotation. We know that. He's obviously a known commodity and he's a proven guy in our market. He's of obvious interest. Just as he is doing and needs to do, we have to explore all of our other options, too.''
During his time with the Red Sox, Lester made three All-Star games, won 116 games and had a 3.58 ERA.
The Red Sox finished 71-91 this season and in last place in the AL East.
- Paul Palladino