Giants believe ‘heartstrings’ affecting Jon Lester’s decision
In typical MLB Hot Stove fashion, the Jon Lester free agency speculation continues to change by the hour. Are the Boston Red Sox once again a favorite to bring back the 30-year-old lefthander?
On Monday, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported that Lester had narrowed his choice down to the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs. Roughly 24 hours later, the Giants sounded skeptical about their chances.
“I think there are some things that are attractive about our situation, but I think heartstrings can play a role there,” Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans said Tuesday, via WEEI.com’s Alex Speier. “I know that he’s a passionate guy and I think he’s got some strong and deep relationships with really two clubs at this point in Chicago and in Boston. We put our best foot forward and hope there’s an opportunity to draw him to us because we think he’s a game-changer.
“[But] I feel we’re probably in the back seat of this deal right now. I feel like there are some other guys driving this, and probably we’re staying in it but I’m not sure how strongly we’re a consideration considering the other options.”
Could Evans be simply laying down a smokescreen? Of course, but we wouldn’t be surprised if he was telling the truth.
Lester said over the summer that he would not sign with the highest bidder in free agency just for the sake of collecting every dollar he is entitled to. The Red Sox stuck with Lester as he battled cancer and his family has been in Boston for years. David Ortiz also said before that he expected to be teammates again with Lester some day. And then there was this suspicious activity from Lester on Twitter after he was traded to the Oakland A’s.
That said, those same Red Sox that stuck with Lester were led by then-GM Theo Epstein, who is now the president of baseball operations with the Cubs. Epstein could have dealt Lester in a number of blockbuster deals (including one for Johan Santana several years ago), but he chose not to. There’s a ton of mutual respect between the two.
In all likelihood, Lester already knows where he is going to sign. His agents wouldn’t be doing their job if they didn’t take advantage of the widespread interest.