Results tagged ‘ Jon Lester ’
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
According to reports, free agent pitcher Jon Lester will meet with Cubs officials next week. ESPNBoston.com reports Lester’s agents have prepared a 200-plus page full color portfolio on the pitcher, along with a three-minute video. It features his charity work as well as his efforts on the field. Lester’s agent, Seth Levinson, met with Cubs officials as well as others, including Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, during the GM meetings in Phoenix. That’s standard procedure — agents touch base with all teams interested in their clients. But the bidding for Lester most likely will come down to the Cubs vs. Red Sox, who would like Lester to come back.
Just don’t expect the Cubs to sign Lester, Max Scherzer and James Shields.
“It’s hard to acquire pitching. Period,” Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday in Phoenix. “It’s hard to acquire top-of-the-rotation pitching. I’ve seen us linked. People predict that we’re going to sign two top-of-the-rotation starters who both require nine-figure contracts. That’s not happening.
“Look at the history of nine-figure starting pitching contracts, and it’s a huge risk,” Epstein said. “So, to put an organization in the position to have two such deals immediately in the course of the same offseason, I couldn’t imagine something like that occurring.”
– Carrie Muskat
The Red Sox did nothing to diminish rumors that Jon Lester will be traded to a contender when they scratched him from Wednesday night’s start against the Blue Jays.
“Yeah, Brandon Workman will start tomorrow,” said Red Sox manager John Farrell. “In light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it’s probably in everyone’s best interests that he does not make that start, so Brandon will be recalled. There will be a corresponding move roster-wise at some point tomorrow.”
By scratching Lester from his Wednesday start, the Red Sox could increase the urgency of their suitors to sweeten their offer in advance of Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Also, Lester becomes more attractive to a potential suitor if he can pitch immediately after a trade, rather than having to wait until Monday.
Numerous teams have talked to the Red Sox about Lester, and there was a lot of buzz about the Pirates on Tuesday. The Dodgers are another possible destination, though they’ve thus far been unwilling to part with the type of top prospects (Corey Seager, Joc Pederson) the Red Sox seek. The Marlins have also expressed interest, according to Jim Bowden of MLB Network radio.
While Red Sox veterans were still hoping the lefty would stay, they were bracing for the possibility of his exit.
“Yeah, it’s tough,” said Dustin Pedroia, who came up with Lester through the farm system and has won a pair of World Series titles with him. “We’re not teammates – we’re family. It’s something you don’t like going through. It makes you feel worse. We don’t want to be in this position. I know a lot of guys feel that if you play up to your capability … we should be adding instead of subtracting. Hopefully he’s here.”