Blue Jays interested in Lester, Miller

Despite signing top free agent catcher Russell Martin on Monday, the Blue Jays are apparently far from done this offseason. The Jays are reportedly still interested in Jon Lester, one of the top starting pitchers on the market, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford.

The club is also believed to be actively pursuing marquee reliever Andrew Miller, according to a tweet from Sportsnet’s Jeff Blair.

The Jays remain a bit of a darkhorse candidate to sign Lester, who is scheduled to meet with the Cubs on Tuesday. Lester’s also expected to meet with the Red Sox in the near future, making the Cubs and the Red Sox the current obvious favorites. That said, at least four other teams, including the Jays, have expressed interest.

Pursuing Lester certainly makes sense from Toronto’s standpoint. The Jays are more than familiar with Lester from his nine seasons with the AL East rival Red Sox and the three-time All-Star would give them another durable arm at the top of their rotation.

Toronto already has six starters — Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison, J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada — in the mix for 2015, but the Jays were likely planning to move at least one starter anyways in an attempt to shore up their other needs. Bringing Lester into the mix would likely just result in Toronto packaging two starters into the same trade or making two separate moves entirely.

As for Miller, the Jays’ interest doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given the fact that at least 22 teams have reportedly reached out to Miller’s agent already. Toronto could pursue Miller as its next closer, with last year’s closer Casey Janssen likely to depart via free agency.

The Jays are by no means the verge of signing either player at this point, but the move to already land Martin indicates they are certainly willing to be big players in the free-agent market this offseason.

— Paul Casella

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