David Ortiz

David Ortiz makes plea to Red Sox to 'step up' for Jon Lester

Rob Bradford
December 04, 2014 - 8:51 pm

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- The priority for David Ortiz at his annual golf tournament is to play the role of host for those helping support the event. But there have been times he uses the occasion to get a message across via the small gathering of media attending the fundraiser. Last year, for example, the Red Sox designated hitter threw down the gauntlet to the team that he was intent on getting a new deal done before the 2014 season rolled around. This time around, Ortiz lacked any sort of pointed remarks. ("€œI'€™m under contract,"€ he said. "I don'€™t have to talk about it."€) Instead, there was just a plea. He wants Jon Lester back with the Red Sox. "Yeah,"€ said Ortiz when asked if he was optimistic that Lester would return. "€œMost of the time we come through. I know it'€™s a tough situation because my boy Lester, he'€™s got a lot of people in his head right now talking to him. I always wish him the best, but hopefully we end up having him. We need him." Ortiz explained he hadn'€™t spoken with Lester throughout the offseason (just '€œtweeting at him'€), but reiterated an understanding of the pitcher'€™s mindset. Now, with the pitcher on the cusp making his decision '€“ one which is appearing to be finalized around the time of next week'€™s winter meetings in San Diego '€“ Ortiz is presenting one last pitch. "This is a guy who loves Boston, so if I'€™m the Red Sox I do whatever it takes to keep a guy like that because that'€™s a guy who brings everything he has every day to the field,"€ he said. "Not only that but he cares about the city. "He was devastated when he got traded, and I know that. I can personally tell you that. But this is a business, and I know he understands that. So now is the time for us to step up, man up, and try to make the guy happy." Lester appears to be choosing between the Red Sox, Giants, Cubs and Dodgers, with some in baseball believing the Yankees are also lurking. Ortiz just so happens to seemingly be one of the people saying New York is, '€œgoing to go out and get some pitching, I guarantee it.'€ Also in attendance for the first day of Ortiz'€™s event was third baseman Will Middlebrooks, along with free agent reliever Craig Breslow. The lefty pitcher has drawn interest from more than a handful of teams, but figures to sign only after fellow southpaw Andrew Miller kicks off the relieving market. Other notable participants in the event include Jose Bautista, Adrian Beltre, Hanley Ramirez, Robinson Cano and Pedro Martinez. Newly-acquired Pablo Sandoval is also expected to make an appearance. "That was something that absolutely surprised me," said Ortiz of the signing of both Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval. "It'€™s more offense. More good defense. That'€™s how you start winning and putting a good team together."