Report: Cubs make substantial offer to Lester

The Cubs have reportedly extended a six-year offer to Jon Lester that is worth an amount “north of” $135 million, according to CSNChicago.com’s David Kaplan.

The Cubs’ reported offer exceeds the current six-year offer from the Red Sox that is believed to be in the $110-120 million range. It was reported earlier in the day that Lester could ultimately strike a deal with an average annual value exceeding $25 million. This latest news suggests that’s certainly a possibility as the market for Lester begins to really heat up.

Lester is expected to meet with the Cardinals and Giants at some point next week, while the Braves also remain interested in the left-hander. All three teams, in addition to the Cubs and Red Sox, could use another top-end starter. The Cardinals could use Lester to off-set the loss of Shelby Miller, while the Giants’ rotation remains extremely unclear behind ace Madison Bumgarner and the Braves continue to try and bolster their rotation.

The Cubs certainly remain a front-runner in the Lester sweepstakes and extending an offer such as this one could put some pressure on the other teams in pursuit.

— Paul Casella

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