As some of you may’ve heard, the Red Sox made some big moves this offseason. They started out by trading for power hitting first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, and then followed it up by signing Carl Crawford, Bobby Jenks, and Dan Wheeler to free agent contracts. When you factor in the return of Josh Beckett, Dustin Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Mike Cameron, all of whom missed significant time due to injuries in 2010, it’s easy to understand why people in Red Sox Nation are pretty excited about the prospects of this year’s team.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe had a chance to talk with ace starting pitcher Jon Lester at a promotional event for People’s United Bank the other day. Apparently, Lester is already preparing to pitch deep into the postseason.
“Mentally and physically, I’m preparing for the World Series,’’ he said. “I’m doing extra right now to make sure my body holds up for late October. You look at the kind of team we have and I don’t see why can’t get there.’’
As a Red Sox fan I love both his enthusiasm, and his desire to prepare his body for additional wear and tear in October. While his goal of pitching in October should be at the forefront of his (and every player’s) thoughts, I can’t help but wonder if he’s being a little presumptive. It is only January after all. Still, I love his confidence. If the rest of his teammates are as motivated as Lester, the Red Sox could be in for one heck of a season.
Still, as fans, we shouldn’t get too cocky just yet. Championships aren’t won on paper in January. Instead, they’re one on the field in October. The Red Sox’s impressive offseason won’t mean jack, if they can’t put it together between April and October. Plenty of unexpected things could happen over the next nine months that could derail their season. It’s important to keep that in the back of your mind.
In 2010, Lester made his first All-Star appearance and finished fourth in the Cy Young Award voting. He went 19-9 with a 3.18 FIP, 9.7 K/9, 2.71 K/BB, and 5.3 fWAR.