A report out that a free agent won’t automatically sign with one team? Why, what possible motive could he have for drumming up more interest in other teams?
Still, it’s quite a leap from loving his stay in Boston to being likely to return there this winter as a free agent. The reality is, it’s probably the opposite. The strong belief around the game is that Lester is likely to sign somewhere other than the Red Sox.
Most folks around baseball would be surprised if Lester and the Red Sox could agree on a contract at a time other teams will be bidding hard for him. After all, the two sides couldn’t come close to doing it when they had a clear shot at contract. A return by Lester to Boston was dubbed a “long shot” by league officials who have familiarity with the situation.
The Cubs and rival Yankees, among others, look like much more likely landing spots for Lester at this time, in fact. The Yankees have admired Lester’s guts and clutch pitching for years (and especially that career 0.43 World Series ERA) and would surely make a play for the former Red Sox ace. Meanwhile, folks around the game suggest Lester’s old friends Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, who picked Lester for Boston and are now running the Cubs, are extremely likely to be in there pitching, as well. Epstein and Hoyer “absolutely love” Lester, is the word from one official who knows Chicago’s top execs well.
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