Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’

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

Masterson garnering significant interest

Free agent right-hander Justin Masterson has already met with the Red Sox and is expected to hold meetings with the Marlins, White Sox and possibly Cubs during this week’s Winter Meetings, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman. At least three other teams — the Royals, Giants and Twins — have displayed varying amounts of interest in Masterson.

Masterson, who will turn 30 next March, is coming off a diastrous, injury-plagued season in which he went 7-9 with an unsightly 5.88 ERA over 28 combined outings (25 starts) between the Indians and Cardinals. The righty, however, was the Indians’ ace in 2013, making his first All-Star appearance while racking up a 14-10 record to go with a 3.45 ERA.

Now seemingly healthy, Masterson could be a legitimate bounceback candidate. It’s with that in mind that teams are hoping to find a bargain with what is likely to be a one- or two-year deal.

Masterson was drafted by the Red Sox in 2006 and broke into the big leagues with Boston in 2008. He pitched one-and-a-half seasons for the Sox before being traded to the Indians at the 2009 Trade Deadline. Given that history, Masterson is familiar with current Cubs executives Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer from those days together in Boston.

The Cubs, however, have reportedly signed free agent Jason Hammel and remain focused on landing Jon Lester, who’s expected to announce a decision no later than Tuesday. The actual market for Masterson, like any pitcher still on the market, should become more clear once Lester announces his decision.

— 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

Giants yet to make final offer for Sandoval

Don’t count out the Giants in the battle for free-agent third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

San Francisco has faced a stiff challenge in its quest to retain the 28-year-old, who has spent all of his seven big league seasons and won three World Series with the club. The Red Sox have made Sandoval a five-year, $95 million offer, according to The Boston Globe, and the Padres have entered the mix as a surprise contender. San Diego, normally not a player for expensive free agents, has made a “very competitive offer,” according to MLB.com’s Corey Brock.

But even if the Giants have not matched those bids yet, that still could change. Appearing on MLB Network radio on Sunday morning, assistant general manager Bobby Evans said his club has “not made a final offer.” The San Francisco Chronicle previously reported that Sandoval’s agent, Gustavo Vazquez, has asked the Giants to submit their best proposal next week. Sandoval is expected to make his decision then.

— Andrew Simon

Market looking robust for Miller

Andrew Miller has recorded one save in his career, but that’s not going to stop the free-agent left-hander from cashing in big this offseason.

Multiple clubs already have submitted offers of at least three years to Miller, according to FoxSports.com’s Jon Morosi, who added that it’s looking more and more like 29-year-old will score a four-year deal.

A former No. 6 overall draft pick back in 2006, Miller never established himself as a starter but has made a highly successful conversion to the bullpen. He posted a 2.02 ERA for the Red Sox and Orioles last year, striking out 103 batters in 62 1/3 innings while dominating both left-handed and right-handed hitters.

As Morosi points out, Miller should have no trouble smashing the record for the highest average annual value for a reliever with no closing experience, which currently sits at $6 million. As many as 22 clubs have shown interest in Miller, so there will be plenty of competition to drive up his price.

— Andrew Simon

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

Sandoval in Boston to meet with Red Sox

Third baseman Pablo Sandoval took his free-agent tour to Boston on Monday, arriving at Logan Airport in the afternoon and telling local news channel WHDH-TV that he is “excited” for a visit the Red Sox. Sandoval is in town with his agent, Gustavo Vazquez, and his older brother, Michael.

“Pablo is a winner,” Vazquez told the network. “The Boston Red Sox need a winner right now, and I think Pablo can be a good fit over here.”

The Sox are believed to be one of two favorites to land Sandoval, along with the Giants, the team with which Sandoval spent his first seven big league seasons. The Padres recently joined the White Sox and Blue Jays as other teams known to have expressed interest in the 28-year-old switch hitter.

“It could be Red Sox, it could be any other uniform,” Michael Sandoval said of his brother’s options. “The good part of this is he’s got a chance to explore his value on the market and see who can really appreciate him and his work.”

Pablo Sandoval joked that he was “on vacation” and “just visiting the city” but acknowledged the lobbying role of Red Sox slugger David Ortiz.

“I love being in this situation,” he said. “David’s a good guy. I’ve been through a lot this winter with the commercial stuff and all of that. He’s a great guy.”

Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said last week that he met with Vazquez during his time at the GM Meetings in Phoenix.

“[Sandoval’s] one of many that we’re talking to. I’d rather not comment on exactly who we might meet and who we might not, but he’s one guy we have interest in,” Cherington said.

In a tweet Monday, MLB.com’s Ian Browne cautioned against drawing any conclusions from Sandoval’s visit.

Sandoval is a career .294/.346/.465 hitter and batted .366 this postseason as he helped the Giants to their third championship in five years.

— Andrew Simon

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

Jon Lester to meet with Cubs

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

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