The Cubs had a very good Monday. Jon Lester donned No. 34 for the first time in blue pinstripes in what Theo Epstein called “a very, very significant day for the Cubs.”
The Cubs got better on the field with Jon Lester now at the top of Joe Maddon’s rotation and better in the clubhouse with Lester setting an example for the young players on the roster. Lester brings the veteran leadership the front office wanted to add to the Cubs that knows how to win ballgames.
The Cubs also agreed to terms Monday with RHP Jason Motte. With the additions of Lester, Jason Hammel and Miguel Montero in the last week, the front office will have to make at least one roster move before announcing the signing of Jason Motte.
The 40-man roster currently sits at 40 players.
Jon Lester Links and Notes
The Cubs increased their offer three times to Jon Lester, made Lester, who is an avid hunter, a camouflage hat with a Cubs logo on it and Theo Epstein said he “was prepared to soak” himself in deer urine in order to sign Jon Lester.
And Jon Lester and Tom Ricketts reportedly hit it off during dinner exchanging hunting stories.
Here are notes, links and various reactions to Jon Lester’s press conference:
The Cubs sent a 15-minute video to Lester on the first day of free agency.
When asked about giving out his first no-trade clause, Theo Epstein told Paul Sullivan it was in the “spirit of the negotiations.”
The Cubs leaned on Ryan Dempster and Kerry Wood in recruiting Jon Lester according to Paul Sullivan.
According to Bruce Levine, Jon Lester turned down a bigger offer from another team to sign with the Cubs.
Theo Epstein said the Cubs would hope the second-half of Jon Lester’s career will look like Andy Pettitte’s according to Patrick Mooney.
Theo Epstein admitted to Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald, the Cubs had no reaction to Lester being traded from Boston to Oakland in July, “We were too busy high-fiving that we wouldn’t have to give up a draft pick if we signed him.”
Jon Lester chose No. 34 because of the Chicago connection to Kerry Wood and Walter Payton and a personal connection to Nolan Ryan.
According to Mark Gonzales, Jon Lester shirseys will be available next week, jerseys next month.
- Cubs steadfast in aggressive pursuit of Jon Lester. Cubs pull out all the stops to bring left-hander into the fold according to Carrie Muskat.
- Jon Lester lured by Cubs misery, history according to Bob Nightengale.
- For Cubs, Jon Lester, it was all about belief according to ESPN Chicago.
- Comcast SportsNet told the stories about how waiting twice for Jon Lester has paid off for Theo Epstein.
- The Cubs went all-out for Lester according to Comcast SportsNet.
The Cubs reportedly agreed to terms on a one-year, $4.5 million contract with RHP Jason Motte that includes a $2.5 million incentives package based on games finished. Motte missed the 2013 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and pitched in 29 games for the Cardinals last year. Motte saved 42 games for St. Louis in 2012.
According to reports, the Cubs expect Joe Maddon “to be creative” with his use of the bullpen. The front office wanted to give Maddon another reliever he could use in high-leverage situations or in the ninth inning.
The signing has not been confirmed by the team. Motte has to pass a physical and the front office will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster before the deal can be announced.
Lefty in the Pen
The Cubs were believed to be looking for veteran lefty reliever for the pen, especially after non-tendering Wesley Wright. But Theo Epstein indicated Monday there is not much available in terms of left handed relief help.
Epstein said Tsuyoshi Wada and Felix Doubront are among the southpaws on the roster that could end up in the pen. The Cubs are believed to view Eric Jokisch as a starter and as rotation depth that is likely to start the season with Triple-A Iowa.
The Cubs currently have LHP Zac Rosscup and LHP Joseph Ortiz on the roster as the only two lefty relievers.
News, Notes and Rumors
The Rangers contract with RHP Kyuji Fujikawa is reportedly for one-year, $1 million and includes an incentive package, plus a club option for a second year. The deal is expected to be announced once Fujikawa passes a physical.
The Yankees signed 3B Chase Headley on Monday to a four-year, $52 million contract. And the Giants, who were interested in Headley, lost another option at third base when Jed Lowrie signed a three-year contract with the Astros.
LHP Brett Anderson agreed to terms on a one-year, $10 million contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers that includes an incentives package based on innings pitched (200) for $4 million. According to Jeff Passan, the Yankees, Braves and Royals were in on Anderson and finished as “runner-ups.” Multiple second place finishes?
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Marlins were close to signing Michael Morse on Tuesday morning. Updated 8:22am CST – Michael Morse has agreed to a two-year contract with Miami according to Ken Rosenthal. The Cubs had internal discussion about Morse as a possibility for a bench bat and left fielder.
Ken Rosenthal asked, don’t the Nationals want to pay to play?
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs “would have pushed” to sign Justin Masterson if they didn’t land Jon Lester.
RHP Jacob Nix and the Astros reached a settlement according to Jon Heyman and Nix will likely pitch at a junior college this spring. The settlement keeps Houston from losing a first round pick in next year’s draft.
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Cubs signed free agent Wesley Wright
2009 – Cubs released Erik Hamren
2008 – Cubs signed free agent Joey Gathright
2004 – Cubs signed free agent Kevin McGlinchy
2002 – Blue Jays selected Jason Dubois from the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft
2002 – Cubs selected Derek Thompson from the Indians in the Rule 5 Draft
1985 – Cubs acquired Jerry Mumphrey from the Astros for Billy Hatcher and a PTBNL. Cubs sent Steve Engel to Houston on July 24, 1986 to complete the trade.
1959 – Paul Noce, born
1941 – Adolfo Phillips, born
1904 – Joe Berry, born
1900 – Tony Kaufmann, born
1876 – Sammy Strang, born