It’s likely too simplistic to treat Jon Lester’s free agency as a battle between the Boston Red Sox – his former team – and the Chicago Cubs – his former front office. One of the best available arms out there, Lester is likely to draw interest from a great many teams, and there will be some serious bidding.
But when you see something funny like these dueling reports tonight, it’s hard not to think about the Red Sox and Cubs going head-to-head for Lester’s services. The reports to which I refer, one from Bruce Levine and one from Gordon Edes, came out within an hour of each other, and they have a similar flavor – but with different teams as the focus.
Per Levine (UPDATE: Jesse Rogers is hearing something similar), the Cubs plan to bring Lester in early next week to visit Wrigley Field, and to meet with Cubs brass and owner Tom Ricketts. Lester will command a contract in excess of $100 million, so it’s unsurprising that the Cubs would include Ricketts in the courtship process.
Per Edes, the Red Sox will soon meet with Lester’s agents, possibly later this week, and will also have ownership involved in the meeting. There’s probably less direct wooing of Lester necessary in Boston, because of his obvious familiarity with the city, organization, and current front office.
So, it’s quite clear that the Cubs and Red Sox, at a minimum, are extremely serious about signing Jon Lester. We’ll see how the meetings go, and how the rumors develop over the next week or so. Will the Red Sox make an offer this week? Will they try to get Lester to sign before he even comes to Chicago? Will the Cubs make an offer?
Not that you needed more excitement this early in November, but, hey, looks like you might get it.