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:

Blue Jays clinch playoff berth with Orioles’ loss to Red Sox

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TORONTO — The Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth Thursday without taking the field.

Toronto was assured of an AL wild card berth when the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-3.

If Toronto holds its current position as the first of the AL’s three wild cards, the Blue Jays would open a best-of-three wild-card series at Rogers Centre next week.

“These guys are excited to be in this position,” Blue Jays manager John Schneider said after Wednesday’s 8-3 loss to the New York Yankees. “You’ve got three really good pitchers lined up against a good Boston team, playing at home. So I think it’s more excitement more than it’s nerves or anything. I think the guys are going to come out and be ready to roll on Friday night.”

Toronto became the fourth AL team to clinch a playoff berth, joining division champions Houston, the Yankees and Cleveland. The Astros and Yankees have first-round byes.

The Blue Jays last went to the playoffs in 2020, when they were knocked out with two straight losses to Tampa Bay.

Eight of the 12 berths in the expanded postseason have been clinched: The Los Angeles Dodgers and St. Louis earned division titles, and Atlanta and the New York Mets are assured no worse the wild cards while still competing to win the NL East. The Dodgers have a first-round bye.