Lester reportedly nearing a decision

One of the offseason’s biggest storylines is expected to reach its conclusion within the next 36 hours, with Jon Lester expected to decide on a new team no later than Tuesday, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Olney narrows down the window for Lester’s decision to “no earlier than tonight, no later than tomorrow.” The Red Sox and Cubs, the two frontrunners from the start, are believed to still be in the hunt, as are the Giants and Dodgers.

Regardless of where Lester ultimately signs, his situation being resolved figures to set off a flurry of potential moves, on both the free agent and trade fronts. The clubs that miss out on Lester could turn their focus toward other marquee free agent starters such as Max Scherzer or James Shields, or pursue an upgrade via trade for someone such as the Phillies’ Cole Hamels.

Either way, the market for those players has remained relatively quiet this offseason as teams awaited Lester’s decision. Once it finally comes, teams will begin to really dive into the starting pitching market.

— Paul Casella

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