Maddon on Lester race: “I hope we win it”
What’s Joe Maddon’s take on the Jon Lester sweepstakes?
“I hope we win it,” Maddon said Tuesday.
Speaking to the media at the Winter Meetings, the new Cubs manager said he had a phone conversation with Lester in November, part of the team’s recruiting process. They discussed hunting, the AL East, past games, and how much respect Maddon has for the left-hander.
“I always admired his work from a distance,” Maddon said. “This is a guy who, when the game was really big, he was always at his best. To possibly get this opportunity to work with him for the first time is very exciting. I honest to God don’t know where this is at right now.”
Maddon does acknowledge that it will be tough for Lester to leave Boston.
“Having been with the Red Sox his whole career and all the wonderful success he’s had there, you would think it would be a difficult situation,” Maddon said. “I can’t speak for that, personally. As an opponent, this guy was always at his best when it seemed to matter most. You want to get to him early because if you permit him to settle, he’s definitely going to be there in the seventh or eighth innings.
“You can’t have any respect for a Major League baseball player than we do for him right now. For us to be able to pull this off would be pretty outstanding.”
Did Maddon have any idea as to how long it will be before Lester makes a decision?
“I’m sure it’s not going to be much longer,” Maddon said. “I really have no information or knowledge about that. You just wait for the white smoke.”
— Carrie Muskat