Jon Lester is willing to return to the Red Sox as a free agent even if they trade him

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Jon Lester has made no secret of his desire to remain with the Red Sox for the long-term. However, with Boston sitting in last place in the American League East, there’s always the possibility that the club could trade the impending free agent for prospects before next Thursday’s non-waiver trade deadline. Lester understands that and told Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com after last night’s game that a trade wouldn’t preclude him from returning to the club during the offseason.

“I’ve been through it a couple times at a younger age,” said Lester of the specter of a trade. “If that’s where they want to go with it, that’s fine. No hard feelings. Hopefully, come November I’ll be right here and won’t have to worry about it.”

“Yeah, why not?” he said. “I mean, (Boston) is what I know, this is what I love. Like I’ve said plenty of times, this is where I want to be. And if they trade me I completely understand. No hard feelings. I know what they have to do for their organization and if that involves me, so be it. If it doesn’t I’ll keep running out there every five days and pitching.”

You don’t see this kind of scenario often, but it has happened. Mike Bordick, who was traded from the Orioles to the Mets in 2000 only to re-sign with Baltimore in the winter, immediately springs to mind. At least for this Mets fan.

Lester and the Red Sox have discussed a contract extension at various points this year, but progress has been hard to come by and the veteran southpaw recently tabled talks until after the season. The 30-year-old reportedly rejected a $70 million extension during spring training, which looked like a lowball offer at the time and even more so now that he has posted a 2.52 ERA over 21 starts. He’s likely looking at a deal well north of $100 million on the open market.

You can watch Lester’s comments in full below:

Tigers sign Edwin Espinal to minor league deal

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Free agent first baseman Edwin Espinal has signed a minor league deal with the Tigers, the infielder announced Saturday. The move has yet to be confirmed by the team.

Espinal, 23, capped a seven-year run with the Pirates’ minor league affiliates in 2017. He split his season between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis, batting a cumulative .294/.327/.447 with 15 home runs and 31 doubles in 532 plate appearances. While he’s raked at nearly every level so far, he also profiles well on defense, and rounded off his 2017 performance with a perfect fielding percentage, 208 putouts and a Gold Glove award.

Espinal is untested at the major league level and it’s not yet clear if he’ll make the jump in 2018. He showed some positional versatility during his time in the minors, however, and could take reps at third base or DH if necessary. The Tigers are reportedly on the lookout for pitching depth and left-handed bats — two bills the right-handed Espinal doesn’t fit — and presumably have a lot of moves left to make this winter.