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#pounditTuesday, May 21, 2024

1 unlikely figure helped recruit Dansby Swanson to Cubs

Dansby Swanson in his Braves uniform

Nov 2, 2021; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson (7) reacts after turning a double play against the Houston Astros during the fourth inning in game six of the 2021 World Series at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Cubs apparently got a helping hand this offseason from someone who isn’t even on their roster any more.

At his introductory press conference on Wednesday, new Cubs shortstop Dansby Swanson revealed that former All-Star pitcher Jon Lester was part of the team’s free agent pitch to him and even recorded a video for Swanson. Lester once made a big free agent decision of his own to sign with the Cubs, leaving the Boston Red Sox to do so in 2014.

“He kinda just said, ‘It was the hardest decision [I] ever made. But looking back on it now, it would’ve been the easiest one,'” said Swanson of Lester, per Cubs writer Andy Martinez. “It meant a lot to me because I’ve always appreciated competing against him and just his competitive spirit and just what he brought to the field each and every day. That meant a lot to me.”

Lester pitched for Chicago from 2015 to 2020, making two All-Star teams and helping the Cubs finally snap their century-long World Series drought in 2016. After his Cubs contract expired, Lester went on to pitch for both Washington and St. Louis before announcing his retirement in early 2022.

The 16-year veteran Lester was an interesting choice for a pitchman since he was never teammates with Swanson and may not have had much sway with his World Series rings since Swanson already won one of his own in 2021. But Lester’s spiel appears to have worked just fine, and he probably had some great things to say about Chicago’s manager as well.

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