Braves to meet with Lester, other moves still possible
The Braves may not be done retooling their rotation just yet, as they are reportedly expected to meet with free agent Jon Lester at some point this week, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
At least six teams have expressed interest in Lester, who also has scheduled meetings with the Cubs and Red Sox — the two favorites to land the left-hander at this point. That said, the Braves could be prepared to make a serious run at Lester considering their rotation needs, though they would likely need to make additional moves to make it happen.
Along with acquiring a quality starter in Shelby Miller in Monday’s trade with the Cardinals, the move also freed up approximately $11 million on next year’s payroll. In addition, the Braves could still be willing to move other big-name players, such as Justin Upton and Evan Gattis, according to MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
If the Braves indeed find a new home for one or both of those players, they could use some of that money they would save toward signing Lester.
Despite acquiring Miller on Monday, Atlanta is certainly still in the market for another starter. The Braves’ 2015 rotation currently consists of Julio Teheran, Alex Wood, Mike Minor and Miller. As for the fifth spot, the club as of right now would likely be choosing between Brandon Beachy or Kris Medlen — both coming off their second Tommy John surgeries. David Hale is another option, though he seems better suited for a long-relief role.
The Braves are by no means the favorite to land Lester at this point, but it certainly seems as if Monday’s trade could have been the beginning of a busy offseason in Atlanta.
— Paul Casella