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Jon Lester Newsbeat

Friday, December 12, 2014

Even with Lester, Cubs won’t contend in 2015

In the short term, adding Lester and Montero makes the Cubs maybe two or three games better than they were last year. Or maybe I’m WAY OFF ... and it’€™s four or five games. Now tack on another four or five to account for the mystical powers of Joe Maddon. That still leaves them well short of scaring the Cardinals.

In the short term.

In the long term, of course, Lester’€™s around for a while and Montero’€™s signed through 2017, which is two fewer things for Theo and Jed to worry about. If Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks and the recently re-signed Jason Hammel were for real last season, that’s even three fewer things to worry about.

But the Cubs finished 12th in the National League in scoring last season, largely because of a .300 team on-base percentage. Is that going to improve much in 2015? I don’€™t see how, with the personnel at hand, because Anthony Rizzo’€™s the only excellent hitter on the 40-man roster.

Win Big Stein's Money Posted: December 12, 2014 at 04:19 PM | 93 comment(s)
  Beats: jon lester, theo epstein

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

What the Jon Lester signing means for him, the Cubs and the Red Sox | HardballTalk

Good stuff from Craig Calcaterra.

So that’s what it all means for Boston, Chicago and Lester. Now, here’s what it means for you and me and everyone who yaks about baseball: we need to relax. One signing does not a pennant win or lose. You’ll see, in the coming days, an awful lot of talk about how “the balance of power” has shifted in the NL Central and the AL East and stuff like that. Don’t believe most of it. It’s in the same vein as the talk that had the 2012 Phillies winning it all and various Marlins and Blue Jays teams winning the offseason in the past couple of years. Which is to say that it’s mostly hot air.

Jon Lester makes the Cubs better. His absence will make the Red Sox worse. But he is, in the beginning and the end, only one man, and able front offices in Boston and Chicago will have a lot more to say about how their teams do than Jon Lester will. Let’s have fun with it all now, but let’s let the baseball season get underway before we declare there to be definitive winners and losers.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2014 at 10:16 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jon lester, red sox, winter meetings

Red Sox Proved Incompetent In Losing Jon Lester - Eric Wilbur’s Sports Blog - Boston.com

“Incompetent” and “embarrassment”? This article is a bit harsh and over the top. The Red Sox wanted to retain him *at their price*. Last off-season they clearly didn’t assess him as a stud #1. He went out and had the best year of his career. He’s now getting paid as a true #1. He’s a great guy. He’s also a very good pitcher and pitched great in the playoffs for the Red Sox. He’s not a true #1, though.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2014 at 08:31 AM | 31 comment(s)
  Beats: jon lester, red sox

Nightengale: Maddon says he ‘won the lottery’ with Lester

No, Jon Lester won the lottery. From all reports Lester is a nice guy. When the Red Sox lowballed him last off-season, Lester did not complain in the press. Instead he went out and had the best year of his career and was rewarded yesterday with a contract $40 million plus higher than he was reportedly looking for last year. Congrats to Lester and his family.

Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon was enjoying his pork chop dinner with a couple of red glasses of wine late Tuesday evening when he checked the text message on his cell phone.

The Cubs just signed Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million contract, with a seventh-year option that could make the deal worth $170 million, Maddon was informed, beating out the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox, according to a high-ranking baseball official with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because the deal is not yet finalized.

Correct that.

Maddon just won the lottery.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2014 at 06:53 AM | 8 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, joe maddon, jon lester

Sources: Cubs land Jon Lester with $155 million deal - Yahoo Sports

So it was all about the money.

“The thing I liked about ’em is it wasn’t forced and wasn’t a sales pitch,” Lester said after his meeting with the Cubs. “It was like, ‘This is what we can do.’ I don’t want BS. I don’t want show. I don’t want glitz and glamour. I don’t want to walk out to the field with your name and number on the JumboTron. I’m not 18 anymore. I want you to tell me what you can do for me and my family.”

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2014 at 06:38 AM | 152 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, jon lester

Jon Lester Saga Tested Red Sox’s Commitment To Organizational Philosophy | Boston Red Sox | NESN.com

Two World Series rings?

The Red Sox’s decision to not go beyond six years and $135 million for Lester wasn’t as much stubborn, frugal and merciless as it was systematic. Boston has been reluctant to dish out long-term contracts to pitchers over 30, and while the Red Sox were willing to making an exception for Lester, there still was a barrier the club was unwilling to cross. Two World Series rings and past success weren’t enough to cloud Boston’s organizational vision.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2014 at 06:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agency, jon lester, red sox

Full Count » Source: Cubs, Jon Lester agree to six-year, $155 million deal

OK, who is going to higher to get Scherzer? I hope it’s the Yankees.

Almost a year after his proclaimed interest in returning to the Red Sox on a hometown discount, left-hander Jon Lester rejected his former team’s free-agent overtures, and instead chose to make his baseball home in Chicago with the Cubs, according to an industry source.

Lester agreed to a six-year, $155 million deal, the largest average annual value ($25.83 million) ever given to a pitcher on a multi-year deal in free agency. His deal with the Cubs includes a vesting option for a seventh year. The Sox’ final offer, according to another industry source, was for a six-year, $135 million deal with no seventh-year vesting option.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 10, 2014 at 06:11 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dodgers, free agents, giants, jon lester, red sox

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

How Will Jon Lester Age? | FanGraphs Baseball

I love Lester. Teams have to pony up to get him. There has to be a limit to the number of years, though. I wouldn’t go longer than five years for him even if it meant patching the rotation for another year or two with mid-rotation guys.

In the current era, it has become increasingly rare for pitchers to qualify for ERA titles at advanced ages. Exactly five hurlers qualified for the ERA title at age 37 or higher this season; Bartolo Colon, Tim Hudson and A.J. Burnett in the NL, and Hiroki Kuroda and R.A. Dickey in the AL. Burnett became the 35th pitcher on the above list this season, and Jeremy Guthrie and Mark Buehrle have two more consecutive qualifying years to go to become the 36th and 37th.
...
Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game, and his arrow is pointed upward. His core skills are varied, and his decline phase should be productive. That said, he is a pitcher. Pitchers get hurt. Justin Verlander looked like a great deal a few years back, didn’t he? So did C.C. Sabathia, Masahiro Tanaka and Yu Darvish. They all got hurt, to varying extents, calling their present and future into greater question.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 09:45 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jon lester, sabermetrics

Lowballing Lester haunts Sox | Boston Herald

Somebody didn’t get the memo about the White Sox before writing this piece. Chris Sale isn’t going anywhere.

If the Red Sox wind up with one from Column A — Cole Hamels or Max Scherzer or especially Chris Sale — and one or two from Column B — James Shields, Justin Masterson, Rick Porcello, Ian Kennedy, Yovani Gallardo — then the howls that the Sox seemed to be bracing for in anticipation that Lester will choose the Cubs or Giants instead of them will fade quickly to silence.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 08:42 AM | 22 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jon lester, red sox

Once Lester picks team, rest of desired arms will fall into place | FOX Sports

Robothal reports.

Free agents frequently say such things, talking about comfort, happiness, etc. But Lester has similar offers from the Cubs, Giants, Dodgers and Red Sox, according to major-league sources. The question, in the end, will boil down to which team he prefers.
Lester’s offers all are in the six-year, $150 million range, sources said. One team — it is known which one — indicated it would go to the seven-year, $175 million range. But Lester would not necessarily choose that team even at that level, one source said.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 09, 2014 at 06:17 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, dodgers, free agents, giants, jon lester, red sox, winter meetings

Monday, December 08, 2014

Ken Rosenthal on Twitter: “Sources: Barring late change, Lester choosing between Cubs and Giants

The Red Sox have nobody to blame but themselves. If some of the other reports are true, Lester might be getting seven years.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 08, 2014 at 04:54 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, giants, jon lester, red sox

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Full Count » Sources: John Henry makes trip to visit Jon Lester

Last off-season the Red Sox cost themselves either Jon Lester or a lot of money.

According to multiple major league sources, Red Sox principal owner John Henry flew to the Atlanta area Friday to personally visit with free agent pitcher Jon Lester.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 06, 2014 at 06:21 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: free agency, jon lester, red sox

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Full Count » Sources: Dodgers have serious interest in Jon Lester, poised for potential late negotiating push

One industry source was under the impression that the Dodgers had already entered the bidding with an offer to Lester, while another characterized the Dodgers as poised to play a role similar to the one made by the Yankees in December 2008, when New York swooped in late to sign Mark Teixeira away from other interested bidders with a high bid of eight years and $180 million. A third noted of the Dodgers’ potential interest that Lester, “could help any team looking to win championships,” the unquestioned bar for a Los Angeles team that is after its first title since 1988.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 04, 2014 at 10:58 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: braves, free agents, giants, jon lester, red sox, yankees

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Cards can be patient with pitching market : Sports

Reports, originating first from ESPN’s Jim Bowden, connected the Cardinals to lefty Jon Lester, who along with St. Louis native Max Scherzer are the top starting pitchers available as free agents. While Scherzer’s market is still percolating — not unusual for a headliner and Scott Boras client — Lester has drawn offers from Boston and the Chicago Cubs, according to reports. He has also made visits to teams, including the Cubs and Atlanta Braves. The Cardinals, as of this week, had no plans to bring Lester to St. Louis for a visit. Their interest in the lefty appears as much opportunistic as enthusiastic — what Mozeliak has often referred to as “due diligence.” A baseball official at the general manager meetings earlier this month suggested, hypothetically, if the Cardinals could enter the fray for Lester then why wouldn’t they pursue Scherzer, who is six months younger and from the area?

Jim Furtado Posted: November 29, 2014 at 08:16 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: cardinals, jon lester

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Jon Lester has plenty of options in addition to Red Sox - Sports - The Boston Globe

Nick Cafardo runs down what is currently known about the Lester sweepstakes.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 27, 2014 at 07:25 AM | 13 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jon lester, red sox

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Boston Red Sox owner John Henry hopeful on re-signing Jon Lester, says team willing to exceed luxury tax - ESPN Boston

The Red Sox aren’t restricted by the luxury tax.

“The way it’s structured, you can blow through [the threshold] one year,’’ Henry said. “Again, for next year we have tremendous flexibility, so we could go through for one year. It would not overly affect us [trying to re-sign Lester], but we’re hopeful.’‘

The Sox owner left no doubt that the homegrown Lester remains the team’s No. 1 target.

Red Sox owner John Henry, seen here saying goodbye after Jon Lester was traded to the A’s, said a large part of the team’s presentation to the free agent focused on “finishing that legacy he started.”
“Obviously we’re doing everything we can to sign a top-tier pitcher, Jon Lester,’’ he said. “And hopefully he’ll come back.’‘

Jim Furtado Posted: November 26, 2014 at 07:19 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jon lester, red sox

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kap: Cubs have made ‘significant’ offer to Jon Lester | CSN Chicago

“What I’m hearing is the Chicago Cubs have made a significant offer - significant north of $135 million,” Kaplan said.

Kap also said he’s hearing the Cubs’ offer would be for six years.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 25, 2014 at 05:17 PM | 4 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agents, jon lester

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Full Count » Agent: ‘Red Sox extended great respect to Jon [Lester]‘

The meeting went a little like this.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 19, 2014 at 02:51 PM | 34 comment(s)
  Beats: jon lester

Jon Lester offer on table from Boston Red Sox - ESPN Boston

The checkbook is open!

Jim Furtado Posted: November 19, 2014 at 09:00 AM | 1 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jon lester, red sox

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Full Count » Sources: Blue Jays continue to show interest in Jon Lester

The Blue Jays are in spending mode. They must have realized most of their core is getting up there.

According to Cots Contracts, the Blue Jays’ payroll landed at $137,770,000 last season, with Mark Buehrle slated to make the most money of any player on the roster in ’15 ($19 million).

Buehrle at $19 million.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 18, 2014 at 06:56 AM | 45 comment(s)
  Beats: blue jays, jon lester

Friday, November 14, 2014

Jon Lester would further solidify solid staff - Chicago Tribune

Thirteen pitchers have commanded contracts of $100 million or more, including two for C.C. Sabathia because of an opt-out clause he exercised. Clayton Kershaw’s seven-year, $215 million deal is the gold standard, followed by Justin Verlander ($180 million over seven years), Felix Hernandez ($175 million/seven), Sabathia ($161 million/seven), Masahiro Tanaka ($155 million/7), Zack Greinke ($147 million/six), Cole Hamels ($144 million/six), Johan Santana ($137.5 million/six), Matt Cain ($127.5 million/six), Barry Zito ($126 million/six), Sabathia ($122.5 million/five), Mike Hampton ($121 million/eight), Cliff Lee ($120 million/five) and Kevin Brown ($105 million/seven).

The jury is still out on many of those deals, but certainly Brown, Lee, Hampton and Santana didn’t work out, and Sabathia’s contract has become an albatross for the Yankees. Cain and Tanaka were injured this year, while Verlander no longer appears dominant.

The Red Sox have done studies to determine the characteristics in pitchers that make for better long-term investments — lefty vs. righty, power vs. finesse, what kind of delivery, etc.

“We do look at that. What we have found is the more predicted element at this point in their career is what they’ve done, not so much what they look like,” Cherington said. “Not to say what they look like or their delivery doesn’t matter. It does.

“But the track record is usually the best predictor. It just so happens that a lot of the available starting pitchers this offseason, at least toward the top of the market, have that very strong record of pitching a lot for a long period of time.”

Jim Furtado Posted: November 14, 2014 at 08:17 AM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agents, jon lester, red sox

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Baseball exec predicts Lester will return to Boston - Boston Red Sox Blog - ESPN Boston

The “well-connected baseball executive” sounds like someone in the Red Sox camp. The executive sounds like he has some wishful thinking. I don’t see Lester settling for $20 million per year.

But Monday night, a well-connected baseball executive who has had conversations on the subject with the Red Sox, predicted that Boston will indeed re-sign Lester, and may make an exception in Lester’s case to their pledge not to offer a long-term deal to pitchers north of 30 years old.

How high would the Sox go, and for how many years? The executive said he did not rule out a six-year offer for at least $20 million a year.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 11, 2014 at 07:05 AM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: jon lester, red sox

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Full Count » Ben Cherington talks outfield trade market, Jon Lester and interest in Pablo Sandoval

Unless another team goes nuts with an offer for Lester, he will end up back in Boston. Of course, it’s entirely within the realm of possibility that someone will.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 09, 2014 at 06:32 AM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: ben cherington, jon lester, max scherzer, pablo sandoval, red sox, yoenis cespedes

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Yankees have no plans to pursue free agents Pablo Sandoval, Jon Lester or Max Scherzer - NY Daily News

Put the Panda heads away, Yankees fans; Pablo Sandoval isn’t coming to the Bronx. And you can add Max Scherzer, Jon Lester and James Shields to that list while you’re at it.

According to a source, the Yankees have no plans to pursue either Scherzer or Lester, the top two free agents on the market this winter. Shields, the third-best free-agent starter, is also off the Bombers’ radar, as is Sandoval, the Giants’ postseason hero who was given a $15.3 million qualifying offer by San Francisco before Monday’s deadline.

Instead, the Yankees are interested in bringing back two of their own, free agents Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley, neither of whom was eligible to receive a qualifying offer after being traded to the Bronx this past July. A source said the Yankees would engage the pair aggressively in an attempt to lock them up.

Jim Furtado Posted: November 04, 2014 at 11:13 AM | 35 comment(s)
  Beats: james shields, jon lester, max scherzer, pablo sandoval, yankees

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Jake Peavy, Jon Lester have eye on Cubs as package deal

“No, I’m not offering a package to the Cubs,” the San Francisco Giants pitcher said, clarifying the impression he made while talking about himself, the Cubs and his pal Lester. “There’s a package deal out there for any team.”

zonk Posted: October 28, 2014 at 08:36 AM | 82 comment(s)
  Beats: cubs, free agency, jake peavy, jon lester

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