jon lester feature red soxIt’s been a couple weird days in the world of Jon Lester rumors. After weeks when pundits were treating the Chicago Cubs as the only possible destination for Lester (which was, and remains, a crazy way to think about the unpredictable world of high-end free agency), there was a sharp turn in recent days, where, if you were paying attention, you started to feel an undercurrent of “actually, maybe the price tag is going to go beyond where the Cubs would be comfortable.” Then, late Monday night, a rumor broke out of Boston that the Red Sox were not only still interested in bringing Lester back, but a “well-placed baseball executive” was predicting that it would happen, with the Red Sox going to six years and exceeding $20 million annually. But there was still talk that the Cubs were into Lester, and may have already met with his agent. And then Gordon Wittenmyer’s Jordan Zimmermann report last night also included a blurb on the Cubs still being in on Lester.

It was a little back-and-forth, and all within the span of a couple days. So, actually, I take back the intro sentence. It hasn’t been a couple weird days. It’s been pretty typical rumor season.



Against that backdrop, how is the Red Sox side of things reacting to the various rumors and reports?

Well, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington was asked about Lester:



Nick Cafardo wrote a little more on Cherington’s comments here, and they do sound non-commital. That said, I’m not sure we can divine too much from a guy who – like the Cubs’ own front office – isn’t going to show his hand publicly. Cafardo’s piece is an interesting read about the possibly impending pitching battles between the Cubs and Red Sox, and he suggests a growing desire in the Red Sox’s world – at least among fans – to get Lester back. Indeed, Abraham also wrote about Lester and the Red Sox, arguing strenuously that Boston needed to just get a deal done with the lefty.



In recent years, the Red Sox have shown a reluctance to sign long-term, nine-figure deals with free agents (perhaps feeling burned by deals like the Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez contracts that had to be unloaded on the Dodgers), but Cherington told Gordon Edes that it’s not a hard-and-fast rule. Although he wouldn’t bite on saying the Red Sox would go to any specific length or dollar amount on Lester, Cherington did say Lester is “of obvious interest” and the Red Sox do feel there is comfort and familiarity there.

All in all, I’m not sure too much has changed from where things were a week ago: the Cubs are interested in Lester, but will see how the bidding goes. The Red Sox are interested in Lester, but will see how the bidding goes.

And there are probably many other teams involved, too.

IMMEDIATE UPDATE:




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