Jon Lester says Commissioner Rob Manfred ‘should take his name off’ the World Series trophy after his comments about the Astros’ sign-stealing debacle

One of the first stops for visitors to Jon Lester’s home in Georgia is a room displaying replicas of the three World Series trophies Lester has helped win during a 14-year career.

So it’s no surprise Lester was taken aback by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred’s reference to baseball’s ultimate team award as a “piece of metal.”


“That’s somebody who has never played our game,” Lester said Tuesday when asked about Manfred, who played tennis at Le Moyne College in New York. “You play for a reason. You play for that piece of metal. I’m very proud of the three I have. If that’s the way he feels, he needs to take his name off the trophy.

“I’m proud of (the trophies). A lot of years. A lot of hard work. Just to bring it down like that, I’m sure it hurt a lot of guys when they saw that, especially guys who haven’t won it that have been striving for years to try to get to it.

“I’m sure Adam Dunn heard that. He’s played one playoff game his whole career. He’d be probably pretty upset. It’s a very special thing that (Manfred) brought down.”

Manfred’s comments Sunday, which some believe devalued the Commissioner’s Trophy, came in defense of his perceived soft punishment against the Astros for their electronic sign-stealing tactics during their 2017 World Series championship season. MLB granted some players immunity from penalties for participating in its investigation.

“Guys were more or less disappointed that players didn’t get punished,” Lester said. “Regardless of what the manager, coach or whoever else did or (was) a part of it, there’s some punishment that needed to be handed down. And for whatever reason, (Manfred) chose not to do it.

“He’s the bossman. He makes those decisions. In those situations that played against that team in important games, you saw their emotions and gut reaction come out about it. It’s just a hard thing right now.

“That’s putting our game in a not-so-good place, but I’m hoping the other 29 teams go around that and (will) be better for the fans going forward.”

At a news conference in Scottsdale three hours after Lester criticized Manfred for referring to the trophy as a “piece of metal,” the commissioner issued an apology.


“I referred to the World Series trophy in a disrespectful way," Manfred said. "I want to apologize for it.”

Manfred said the decision to grant immunity to players who cooperated in the investigation was negotiated with the Major League Baseball Players Association.

Lester hopes the attention on the scandal will subside as exhibition games begin this weekend. But he didn’t seem to believe the other 29 teams would follow Manfred’s edict that they don’t retaliate by intentionally throwing at Astros batters.

“That’s each individual club’s personal decision,” Lester said. “I’m sure it’s going to happen. I’m sure something is going to happen. I don’t think this is going to be brushed under the rug and guys are going to turn the other cheek and keep playing.”

The 2017 Dodgers, which included current Cubs pitchers Yu Darvish and Brandon Morrow, might have been deprived of a World Series title because of the Astros’ tactics.

“I’d imagine if they ever played again, that would be an interesting series,” Lester said of a Dodgers-Astros matchup, which isn’t scheduled for 2020. “I’m sure the New York (Yankees) series would be interesting. I’m not in those clubhouses. I don’t know how those guys are going to handle it.


“I’d love to have the seven runs I gave up (last May) back, let alone just a fair playing field. But you can’t get them back. You can’t get the World Series trophy back. What do you do? How do you handle this the right way? Express your feelings, but at the same time do it the right way.”

Lester was asked how he would handle the situation if he were victimized by the cheating.

“You’re asking kind of the impossible question,” Lester said. “I think if I was (playing for an American League West) team, I’d handle it differently than if I was (playing for the Yankees) or somebody out of the division.”

Lester envisioned that AL West foes will be “pretty harried” the first couple of times they face the Astros, and he emphasized the importance of winning each game and how one game can determine whether a team advances to the playoffs.

“Do you chance that by drilling the first three guys you face and get thrown out?” Lester said. “Then you screw your bullpen for the next week. It’s a hard question to answer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if something happened in the division.”