BOSTON -- After dismantling their rotation at the non-waiver Trade Deadline last month, the Red Sox left themselves with a bundle of young arms for this season and beyond.
But there's a chance Jon Lester, traded to Oakland on July 31, could return to Boston when he becomes an unrestricted free agent at season's end. One man who wants to see Lester back at Fenway is Pedro Martinez, who was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame Thursday. The 42-year-old currently serves as a special assistant to general manager Ben Cherington.
"Openly, I'm going to say I'm not happy that Lester is not here anymore and I'd like him to come back. We had that talk in the outfield and during bullpen sessions and during games," Martinez said. "I hate to see that Lester is gone, because he's a workhorse, he's a good example in the clubhouse, he's a role model in society. He's a good role model and family member. He's everything you need for a young group of guys that are developing. I think Lester is one of the guys we have to really hope he comes back. He's probably the right guy to have in front of all those young kids we have."
Lester started at least 30 games in each year from 2008-2013, and he has posted career bests in ERA, WHIP and K/BB ratio in 2014.
The Red Sox's rotation at the beginning of the season featured Lester, John Lackey, Jake Peavy, Felix Doubront and Clay Buchholz. With just Buchholz left from that group, the club has used a number of different young pitchers to fill the void in the last few weeks.
Rubby De La Rosa, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Anthony Ranaudo and Joe Kelly have all started at least twice for Boston this season. Each is 26 years old or younger. Henry Owens, Boston's No. 2 overall prospect, is just 22, currently with Triple-A Pawtucket and projects as a starter.
When asked about whether or not a team needs an ace to be successful -- something the Red Sox lack without Lester -- Martinez said he believes Boston has plenty of good young pitching that just needs to be nudged in the right direction. They're not there yet, but can be, he said.
"These kids, especially so young, it would be unfair to ask them to be all the things that they don't know how to be. So they need someone to guide them," said Martinez. "Not saying that those kids are not capable of becoming aces, they could, but they need guidance. That's where a veteran pitcher could probably play a role."
Roger Clemens, who was also inducted into the Red Sox's Hall of Fame Thursday, said he thinks it would be "a great idea" for Lester to return to Boston. Clemens said he enjoys watching Lester pitch and has been impressed with the way the lefty has become one of the game's best during the past few seasons.
After playing 24 seasons and winning 354 games, Clemens shed some light on his secret to longevity -- hard work, good mechanics and the ability to adapt when hitters start to catch on, he said.
"To have staying power, you really have to make adjustments in your game and stay focused, because you're going to rack up a lot at-bats against certain guys that you're going to see a lot in the league," Clemens said. "It's fun watching [Lester] and I enjoy talking to him."
Steven Petrella is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.