Jon Lester is reportedly not returning to the Boston Red Sox.
Lester is expected to make a decision about his future this week, and Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the 30-year-old lefthander has narrowed his suitors down to the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.
Lester’s agent, Seth Levinson, quickly denied that the Red Sox have been removed from consideration. He told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that any report about the Giants and Cubs being the two finalists is “absolutely untrue.”
In addition, Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com adds that Lester’s agents still intend to meet with the Red Sox on Monday night. If Boston has been removed from the running, the team has not been informed.
Rosenthal is one of the most reliable reporters in baseball, so he had to have gotten his initial report from a good source. It’s quite possible that Lester has decided he wants to pitch in the National League and is simply stringing the Red Sox along to drive up the price and/or make sure he has a backup plan if something suddenly changes.
The Dodgers appear to be the mystery team in the Jon Lester sweepstakes.
We have heard all along that the Red Sox, Cubs and Giants were the teams most interested in the southpaw pitcher. Additionally, a report on Wednesday said the Yankees were in on Jon with a big offer. But the real big player here could actually be the deep-pocketed Dodgers.
WEEI reported Wednesday that the Dodgers have the interest and resources to swoop in late and pull off a Lester signing.
The Dodgers have been a major player in free agency ever since the current ownership group took over in 2012. They have thrown around big money for Zack Greinke, extended Clayton Kershaw, and absorbed the contracts of Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford. They are hungry for the franchise’s first championship since 1988 and may want to enhance what is already one of the top staffs in the bigs. Another reason they could be motivated to sign Lester is Zack Greinke’s contract status. Greinke can opt out of his current deal after next season. Having Lester would not only give them a lethal pitching staff in the playoffs, but it would be insurance in case Greinke leaves after next year.
Free agent pitcher Jon Lester is expected to make a decision about his future sooner rather than later. All indications are that the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants are the finalists to sign the 30-year-old lefty. You didn’t really think the New York Yankees would just sit back and watch the situation unfold, did you?
According to Matt Abbatacola of 670 The Score in Chicago, the Yankees have entered the Lester sweepstakes with a late offer. Naturally, it’s reportedly a big one.
For what it’s worth, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com believes the Yankees would rather sign Max Scherzer if they make a big splash in free agency.
The Cubs reportedly have the best offer on the table for Lester, and it is said to be somewhere in the six-year, $140 million range. The Red Sox have offered something close to that, otherwise Lester would have already told them to go pound sand.
We have seen this act from the Yankees before, and it often ends with them getting their guy. Rather than getting into a bidding war with other teams, they wait in the weeds and jump in at the last second with a huge offer. If the report is true, my guess is New York offered something in the $150-$160 million range and they will probably give Lester a deadline to make a decision.
Jon Lester is close to reaching an agreement to sign with the Boston Red Sox, according to Jake Wesley. Before we go any further, you’re probably wondering who Jake Wesley is.
Wesley is a 14-year-old kid who has been breaking free agent news for the past several days.
On Sunday, Wesley tweeted that the Red Sox had agreed to terms with Hanley Ramirez hours before any of baseball’s top writers and reporters had anything to say about it.
He probably just guessed, right? If so, Wesley must be a great guesser. He reported later in the day that the same source who informed him of the Ramirez signing also confirmed that the Red Sox had signed Pablo Sandoval.
Wesley broke the news of both signings before Ken Rosenthal, Jon Heyman, Buster Olney and all of the other MLB big guns. If the Red Sox end up signing Lester in addition to Ramirez and Sandoval, Wesley will be three-for-three.
Wesley told BostInno.com that Heyman even contacted him to talk about his reports. He claims he has a contact within the Red Sox organization that has been feeding him information. Wesley’s family is from Missouri and he has no ties to the Boston area, nor is he a Red Sox fan.
Wesley isn’t the only teenager who is breaking news this offseason. Last week, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports explained how 18-year-old Devan Fink and 13-year-old Robert Murray scooped him on the Oakland A’s signing Billy Butler.
“My dream is to be the next Rosenthal or Heyman,” Wesley told BostInno.
As for the state of the Red Sox, it appears CEO Larry Lucchino was blowing smoke when he mocked the New York Yankees for spending all kinds of money last winter. The Sox have added Ramirez and Sandoval and it appears they aren’t done yet. Lester is still in the cards, and Boston could also trade Yoenis Cespedes and/or another players for another starting pitcher. Cole Hamels is one name that has already been tossed around.
If the Red Sox do trade for someone like Hamels, don’t be surprised if Wesley hears about it before the rest of us.
When the Boston Red Sox traded Jon Lester to the Oakland A’s at the trade deadline, the popular knee-jerk reaction was that they are giving up on 2014 and will bring the lefthander back when he becomes a free agent after the season. Will it actually happen?
Here are the facts. The Red Sox rarely ever sign pitchers who are over the age of 30 to massive contracts. Lester turns 31 in January, and he will be seeking at least $20 million per year for six seasons. Before trading Lester, Boston’s best offer to him was four years and $70 million. That’s laughable for a player with Lester’s resume.
All that said, Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com cites a “well-connected baseball executive” who believes the Red Sox will break from their usual principles and bring back Lester.
Lester, one of the best postseason pitchers in MLB history, went 16-11 last year with a 2.46 ERA. He has thrown 200-plus innings in six of his last seven seasons and threw 191.2 innings in the one where he didn’t hit the 200-inning mark. He has always been very durable.
Shortly after the Red Sox traded Lester, he started favoriting tweets from Red Sox fans who were hopeful he would return to Boston. David Ortiz also said that he expected Lester to be his teammate again at some point in the future. And to top it all off, Lester has been open in stating that he will not simply sign with the highest bidder in free agency.
If the Red Sox do bring Lester back, they will have essentially loaned him to the A’s for a few months in exchange for promising young outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Although, there have been some rumblings about Cespedes not being long for Boston.
While we have no way of knowing the Red Sox intentions, we do know that their pockets are plenty deep. Given Lester’s history in Boston, they shouldn’t have all that difficult of a time signing him if there is legitimate mutual interest.
The Chicago Cubs are a team on the rise, and two of the top free agent pitchers have interest in being part of the team’s resurgence.
Jake Peavy expressed interest in the Cubs while speaking with the Chicago Sun-Times’ Gordon Wittenmeyer, and the pitcher also said Jon Lester, his former Red Sox teammate, is interested in the NL Central club.
“Me and Jon are obviously very close,” Peavy said via the Sun-Times. “If there was ever a fit with both of us on the team, certainly that would interest me. I know what he brings to the table. We have a crazy good friendship, and I know how bad he wants to win, and I know he’s not going to go to a situation for however many years he signs [for] to lose.”
Then came the money quote from Peavy that is certain to make Cubs fans drool.
“You never know what free agency brings. I’ve certainly talked to Jon Lester because we’re buddies. So I have a feel for what he does. And I certainly know that Chicago would interest him and interest me.”
Wittenmeyer reports that Peavy has the Cubs at the top of his wishlist, which should not be surprising given his quote on the matter.
Peavy said he would be open to the Cubs regardless of their manager, saying he had a good relationship in San Diego with the team’s incumbent manager Rick Renteria, while praising Joe Maddon, who is thought to be a candidate for the gig in the future.
Peavy seems like the more likely player to end up with the Cubs. Wittenmeyer reports that the Cubs are not optimistic about signing Lester because they believe the bidding for the lefty could get out of hand.
We know one thing: based on the cover of their sports page, the Sun-Times sure is trying to sell the fans on the package deal:
Barring some sort of unforeseen event, Jon Lester will not be pitching for the Oakland A’s next season. Oakland can’t afford him. And the more Lester talks, the more it sounds like he is hoping the Boston Red Sox make him a competitive enough offer that he can return to the place where he started his career.
Lester’s interview with Jon Tomasse of the Boston Herald earlier this week had two interesting takeaways — he isn’t necessarily signing with the highest bidder and he is by no means opposed to returning to Boston.
“My time there, the memories and all that stuff don’t get erased based on this whole ordeal,” Lester said. “I’m glad with where I’m at, and I understood where (Red Sox GM Ben Cherington) was at. At the end of the season, it’s not going to change my mind about going back there if they are aggressive and competitive and do the things they say they’re going to do. Boston is definitely a place I would go.”
[Related: David Ortiz hints Jon Lester will be back with Red Sox]
Lester added that the Red Sox told him before trading him that they planned on pursuing him aggressively this fall, but he basically said they don’t have to be all that aggressive.
“They told me, ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these (other) offers,'” he 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.”
It would be easy to envision a scenario where Lester plays for the A’s for a few months, helps them in the playoffs, and returns to the place he has called home for years. His family wouldn’t even have to move and his life would basically remain the way it was before.
As Major League Baseball’s trade deadline approached, two names many were interested in were David Price and Jon Lester.
Price, a former Cy Young Award winner is due to become a free agent after next season, but it became increasingly likely the Tampa Bay Rays were going to move him sooner rather than later.
Lester, on the other hand, will hit free agency after this season. With he and the Red Sox unable to come to terms on a contract extension, it made sense for Boston to get something for Lester before potentially losing him with no return.
So, the Rays dealt Price to the Tigers and the Red Sox shipped Lester to the west coast to the Oakland A’s.
Both are All-Star caliber pitchers, so it’s no surprise several teams were mentioned as possible suitors for each. One club, however, had no chance of landing Price or Lester, according to Newsday’s David Lennon. That team was the New York Yankees.
The Red Sox and Yankees did work out a trade involving other players though, as Boston sent Stephen Drew to New York for Kelly Johnson. However, there’s always the possibility Jon Lester or David Price could end up with the Yankees because when it comes to free agency we know they aren’t shy about throwing around money.
H/T Eye On Baseball
Until last week, the Boston Red Sox were the only team Jon Lester had played for since making his major league debut 2006. That changed when he was traded to the Oakland A’s this past Thursday along with Jonny Gomes in exchange for Yoenis Cespedes.
With Lester being a free agent at the end of the season, the possibility remains he could make a triumphant return to Boston. The 30-year-old went as far as to favorite a few tweets about him returning to the club in 2015.
Whether that happens or not, Lester wants Red Sox fans to know he appreciates their support over the first nine seasons of his career and did so by taking out this full-page ad in Sunday’s Boston Globe.
Lester allowed three earned runs over 6.2 innings in his first start for Oakland on Saturday to pick up the win as the A’s defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-3.
Photo: Boston Globe
David Ortiz was not thrilled to see his longtime teammate Jon Lester get traded by the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, but he does have some optimism about playing with his friend again.
Ortiz talked with MLB Network’s Tom Verducci Friday about the two big moves Boston made prior to the trade deadline and hinted that Lester might return to Boston.
“I wasn’t happy,” Ortiz said of the Lester trade. “That’s one of my pretty good friends and teammates for a long time. And the season he was having … always wish him the best. But I have a feeling I will play with him again before my career ends.”
Lester will be a free agent after the season, and the Red Sox are a candidate to sign him. Perhaps Lester or Boston’s front office tipped their plans to Ortiz.
Boston had a nice overall day in terms of returns. They received Cespedes and a draft pick from Oakland, and Joe Kelly and Allen Craig from St. Louis in the Lackey trade. Ortiz understands what management was doing.
“It’s looking like we’re trying to rebuild and get things better for next year,” Ortiz told MLB Network’s Verducci. “Hopefully that’s the case. We’ll see if what we will help us to finish the season good and get better for next year. We got some good players. We have a couple of bats, we have a young, talented pitcher in Joe Kelly. I faced him last year in the playoffs and he has explosive stuff. Hopefully it can work out the way we expect.”
As you could imagine, Ortiz is pretty happy about having Cespedes on his team. He raved about the Cuban slugger’s power and ability to learn, and he believes he’s still figuring out the game.
“Great man, great. This kid has unbelievable power. I think in his case he’s still in the learning process. But he has explosive power.”
Boston was 48-60 this season, so it made complete sense to trade some parts in return for others. And how great will they look if they sign Lester in the winter after getting Cespedes and a draft pick for him?