Red Sox fans are waiting for Jon Lester to make his final decision, but the Red Sox themselves are not. While it was already reported that Boston has made a one-year contract offer to free agent -- and former Red Sox pitcher -- Justin Masterson, general manager Ben Cherington told reporters in San Diego on Tuesday that there are more offers out there already.
In fact, Cherington explained that if there is a starting pitcher out there who could realistically be traded this offseason, the Red Sox have already "made a call" on them. The Sox have already submitted free agent and trade offers for pitchers besides Masterson and Lester, and Cherington also said that, if an opportunity arises that "makes sense, I don't think we feel the need to wait."
That means that, if the Reds decide they love what the Red Sox are offering for, say, Johny Cueto or Mat Latos, Cherington isn't going to sit around waiting to see if Lester has chosen to return to Boston before saying yes to this trade opportunity. That's a very realistic proposition, by the way, as the Reds are trying to cut payroll by $17 million according to Ken Rosenthal, and the Sox have already been talking a trade with them, possibly for Yoenis Cespedes. That would require the Sox eating money, or they would need to make Cespedes a centerpiece for a different trade and send the Reds prospects instead, but that's not really the point right now. The point is that if the Sox had a chance to get Cueto or Latos or someone from another team like Jordan Zimmermann or Doug Fister or any one of those starters Cherington has called on already, they'll take it, Lester decision or no. If Brandon McCarthy or whichever mid-tier free agent arm decides he wants to pitch for the Red Sox for a reasonable price in the next few hours, the Sox will probably be on that.
Given how long it seems to be taking for Lester to make up his mind and how many spots the Red Sox have open in their rotation, that's a comforting thought.