In that totally irrational way that grips all fans who follow offseason transactions closely (too closely?), the Obsessive Jon Lester Watch feels just the slightest bit more obsessive after the Cubs today missed out on Russell Martin. Just try to remind yourself that the two things are not related, and there is no increased urgency to land Lester now that the Cubs have not landed Martin. The Cubs wanted each player, for the most part, independently of each other. I am certain that there are intriguing contingency plans in place for each.
Now, then, on to the latest on Lester.
According to Rob Bradford, Lester will be meeting with the Cubs tomorrow. Presumably, the meeting of which Bradford writes will be the in-person, in-Chicago meeting that Bruce Levine and others reported last week. In theory, it will involve not only some negotiating, but also wooing, ballpark touring, and sales pitches.
One rub to Bradford’s report: he says the Red Sox will get their shot to meet with Lester before the Cubs do. He doesn’t say precisely when – it could be happening right now, for example – but it’s been fairly clear from the Boston side of things that they desired to meet with Lester before he had a chance to formally meet with the Cubs. That may or may not matter, and they may not try (or be able) to lock Lester down before he even speaks with the Cubs. But Gordon Edes’ original Red Sox meeting report, and now Bradford’s, each made special mention of the Red Sox getting to meet with Lester first. So, again, that suggests the Red Sox do see value in meeting with Lester first, and it looks like that will happen.
As for today’s spoiler, an earlier report indicated that the Blue Jays were one of six teams with “legitimate interest” in Lester, but it looks like the Blue Jays’ interest in Lester is not quite that strong:
@pgammo trades. We'll check in on Lester, but we won't go to six years, and we know we won't be in."
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 17, 2014
I’ll agree with Toronto GM Alex Anthopolous on that one. If the Blue Jays won’t go over five years, they’re not going to get Lester.
If that’s a team that fell into the “legitimate interest” category, by the way, you have to wonder just how serious the other involved teams, besides the Cubs and Red Sox, really are.