Results tagged ‘ cubs ’

Red Sox extend one-year offer to Masterson

The Red Sox have reportedly extended a one-year offer to free agent right-hander Justin Masterson, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe.

The Red Sox are pursuing Masterson as a potential starter, not a relief option. That said, they are certainly not alone in their pursuit. It was reported on Monday by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that the Rangers also have an offer in to Masterson, while a number of other teams, including the Marlins, White Sox, Royals, Giants, Cubs, Tigers, Indians and Twins are all known to have interest as well.

Teams are banking on a bounceback year for Masterson, who is coming off a season in which he posted an unsightly 5.88 ERA over 28 injury-hampered outings (25 starts) between the Indians and Cardinals. Now seemingly healthy, teams are hoping to find a bargain with a one- or two-year deal for the 29-year-old righty.

– Paul Casella

Lester signing could reignite Hamels talks

Though the Phillies aren’t one of the four teams reportedly pursuing Jon Lester, they could be one of the clubs most impacted by his final decision, which is expected to come at some point on Tuesday.

Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels has been floated as a potential backup plan for both the Red Sox and Dodgers, leading Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer to suggest that the Phils could start fielding serious offers for Hamels in the coming days. “The Phillies, a team desperate for outfield reinforcements, could target Joc Pederson in a trade with Los Angeles,” writes Gelb.

The Cubs and Giants, the other two clubs known to be pursuing Lester, could also attempt to engage the Phillies in trade talks if they miss out on Lester.

It’s no secret that the Phillies are trying to trade a number of their big-contract players this offseason, with Hamels’ name popping up most often in rumors. Not surprisingly, teams have been much less willing to take on the unfavorable contract of a player such as Ryan Howard.

The Red Sox have reportedly rejected past offers from the Phillies, but the Phils figure to gain at least some leverage in the aftermath of Lester’s decision. Either way, trade talks should heat back up once Lester is off the market.

– Paul Casella

Is it Jon Lester decision day?

Will Jon Lester announce his decision today? According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, the free agent pitcher may not announce his pick until Wednesday. There were reports that the left-hander was going to make his decision public on Tuesday. The Cubs, Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers are in the mix for Lester, who has been the hot topic at the Winter Meetings in San Diego. On Monday, Boston manager John Farrell said he was optimistic the Red Sox would bring Lester back. CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports Lester has to decide between multiple six and seven year offers, which are expected to top $150 million. The Cubs, who met with Lester in mid November in Chicago, won’t say anything about their negotiations.

– Carrie Muskat

Lester reportedly mulling over four offers

Jon Lester is reportedly considering four separate offers, all hovering around the six-year, $150 million mark, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.

Those are offers are believed to be from the Cubs, Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers, though a late push by another team can never be ruled in these situations. Rosenthal adds that one of those four teams with an offer already on the table is willing to add a seventh year and push the total to $175 million, though it’s unclear at this point which team that applies to.

Lester is expected to make a decision some time on Tuesday, at which point the starting pitching market will really begin to open up. Once Lester makes his decision, teams will likely ramp up their pursuit of the other two top-level free agents starters — Max Scherzer and James Shields – as well as the second-tier free agents such as Brandon McCarthy, Ervin Santana, Francisco Liriano and Justin Masterson.

The teams that ultimately miss out on Lester could also turn their attention toward the trade market where pitchers such as the Phillies’ Cole Hamels and the Tigers’ Rick Porcello, among many others, are believed to be available for the right price.

– Paul Casella

Cubs can only wait for Lester

Will Jon Lester decide to go west and join the defending World Series champions? Will he return to Boston to pitch for the Red Sox? Or, will he pick the Cubs and rejoin Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer? Lester met Monday in Atlanta with a delegation from the Giants, who pitched a return to the Bay area where the left-hander played in the second half of last season with the Athletics.

The Giants, Red Sox and Cubs can afford Lester, who was 16-11 with a career best 2.46 ERA in 32 starts last season for the Red Sox and Athletics. According to reports, the Cubs and Red Sox have made six-year offers to Lester worth $138 million and $130 million, respectively.

Lester, who turns 31 on Jan. 7, also met with the Braves, but they have reportedly dropped out of the bidding for the free agent pitcher, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

All the Cubs can do now is wait. Lester has two World Series rings from his days with the Red Sox, including one from 2007 when Epstein and Hoyer were in Boston’s front office. The lefty could be a key part of the Cubs’ bid to end a 108-year championship drought.

– Carrie Muskat

Henry Blanco joins Cubs staff

Henry Blanco is back with the Cubs, joining manager Joe Maddon’s staff as a quality assurance coach. It might not be the only change. Dave Martinez, who has been Maddon’s bench coach since 2008 with the Rays, was dropped on Friday from the list of candidates for the Tampa managerial opening. Martinez, 50, also is a former Cubs player — 1986-88 — and may be a valuable addition for Maddon in his switch to the National League. The addition of Blanco should help Cubs catcher Welington Castillo. Blanco, 43, played for the Cubs from 2005-08, and was a coach on the Diamondbacks staff.

– Carrie Muskat

Waiting on Jon Lester

The Cubs will have to wait a little longer for Jon Lester to make a decision regarding where he wants to pitch next year. According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Lester will meet with at least two more teams next week. The free agent pitcher already has talked to the Cubs, Red Sox, and Braves. The Cubs made their push on Tuesday when Lester visited Chicago.

The Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo said he has not been contacted to help recruit any free agents, including Lester, who was the first baseman’s teammate briefly with the Red Sox.

“All these free agents have earned the right to be free agents and they deserve to visit all the teams that are interested and do what’s best for their families and themselves,” Rizzo said Friday in Chicago. “It really [comes down to] the best decision for them. The best sales pitch I can give is that we’re an exciting team and this is Chicago.”

Cubs execs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know all about sales pitches, especially at Thanksgiving time. In 2003, Epstein and Hoyer, then in the Red Sox front office, had Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling, part of their effort to get the right-hander to drop the no-trade clause in his contract and accept being dealt to Boston.

“If we didn’t sign Curt, it probably would have been the worst Thanksgiving of my life,” Epstein said in 2003. “We tried to refuse [the invitation], and Curt said it was a deal breaker, they would be insulted if we didn’t go.”

Lester most likely will spend Thanksgiving at home.

– Carrie Muskat

Cubs reportedly ask re: Montero

Could Miguel Montero be the upgrade at catcher the Cubs are looking for? According to the Arizona Republic’s Nick Piecoro, the Cubs are one of three teams who have spoken to the Diamondbacks about the left-handed hitting catcher (joining the White Sox and Dodgers). The Cubs missed in their attempt to sign free agent Russell Martin, who agreed to a five-year deal with the Blue Jays this week. Diamondbacks GM Dave Stewart has said he’s not shopping any of their players, including Montero, but did say he’s had inquiries about several players. Montero was rumored to be available because of his contract — he’s owed $40 million over the next three years. Montero, 31, batted .243 this season with 13 home runs and 72 RBIs. He’s led the Majors in innings caught since 2011. In his second full season as the Cubs regular catcher, Welington Castillo batted .237 this past season with 13 home runs and 46 RBIs.

– Carrie Muskat

Jon Lester meets with Cubs

Hopefully, Jon Lester brought a warm coat to Wrigley Field Tuesday. According to a source, Lester met with the Cubs in what was believed to be the second stop on the free agent’s offseason tour of prospective teams. The Wrigleyville area was in a deep chill because of an early blast of winter weather. It’s up to Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, who know Lester from their days together in Boston, to convince the lefty that it won’t be this cold on Opening Night, April 5, at Wrigley Field. The Cubs would not confirm the meeting.

After losing in their bid for free agent catcher Russell Martin, Epstein and Hoyer shifted their focus to adding an ace to the rotation. Lester fits that role, compiling a 116-67 record and 3.58 ERA over nine seasons.

Lester will reportedly meet Thursday with the Braves, who do have an edge over the other teams. In the offseason, the pitcher lives in suburban Atlanta, about a half hour drive from the Braves’ ballpark.

Would Lester be willing to make a switch from the American League to the Cubs? MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, interviewed on a Boston radio station Tuesday, said he believes Lester will return to the Red Sox. Boston traded Lester to Oakland on July 31, and the lefty finished the season 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts with the Athletics. Lester was 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts with Red Sox before the trade.

After Lester was dealt to the A’s, he told Boston Herald writer John Tomase that he wouldn’t be opposed to coming back to Boston.

“The [Red Sox] told me [after the trade to Oakland], ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these [other] offers,'” Lester said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be blown out of the water.’ Why would I need to be blown out of the water? That doesn’t make or break your decision, at least for me. I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”

– Carrie Muskat

Report: Cubs to meet with Lester Tuesday

The Cubs were expected to meet with free agent Jon Lester on Tuesday. WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports the Red Sox will have met with Lester prior to the left-hander’s scheduled get together with Cubs officials. The Cubs are in the market to add a starting pitcher, and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know Lester well from their days together in Boston.

– Carrie Muskat

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