Is Jon Lester nearing the end of the free agent process?
There are a lot of questions surrounding Jon Lester as he could be in the final stretch of gathering information about the teams with the most interest in signing him. Lester met with the Giants in Atlanta on Monday and it is unknown at this point if San Francisco submitted a bid for the southpaw.
After David Kaplan reported last week the Cubs offered six years and north of $135 million for Lester, Jon Heyman zeroed in on the number Monday and it appears the Cubs initial offer to Lester is for six years and $138 million. And the Tribune indicated the Cubs are prepared to spend at least $23 million a year to land the front office’s top target, which falls in line with Jon Heyman’s report.
There is a strong belief that Jon Lester will end up signing a contract for at least $150 million spread out over six seasons ($25 million AAV).
The Red Sox and Giants are thought to be the other two teams with serious enough interest in Lester to match, or at least come close, to the Cubs offer.
John Hart admitted Sunday that Jon Lester is the right pitcher at the wrong time for the Braves. Contrary to a report from Jon Heyman, the Braves did not make an offer to Lester. The bidding for Lester had already surpassed what the Braves could afford before the sit down with the lefty on Nov. 20. Lester impressed Hart and other Braves officials according to the report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and they would’ve liked for Lester to front the Braves rotation.
David O’Brien reported Monday night, the Braves are out of the Jon Lester sweepstakes because Hart doesn’t “believe they could make an offer near what other suitors were bidding.”
Nick Cafardo and Jon Heyman reported Monday that Lester is expected to speak with a couple more teams this week. The Dodgers, Blue Jays, Cardinals, Royals and possibly the Yankees were the teams reported that could talk to Lester in the coming days.
Rob Bradford indicated Monday morning Lester would like to wrap up the team meetings prior to the Winter Meetings. But Nick Cafardo does not think Lester is nearing the end of his free agent process and he’s “taking his time wading through his free agent offers.”
Buster Olney handicapped the Jon Lester sweepstakes as 1) Cubs, 2) Red Sox, 3) Others. Jon Heyman was among those that reported Monday there is not a clear-cut frontrunner for Lester because “it’s too early to know where he’s headed as he’ll need to re-engage with interested teams after all the initial meetings are over.”
- Full Report from the Tribune
- Full Report from Nick Cafardo
- Full Report from Jon Heyman
- Full Report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution