The Blue Jays trolled the Cubs out of a reasonable Russell Martin contract by going way over the top to get him, and now they’re going to try their hand at getting the guy who might be the Cubs’ top pitching target: Jon Lester.
According to WEEI, there are six clubs showing “legitimate interest” in Lester, and, in addition to the Cubs and Red Sox, one of them is the Blue Jays.
We’ll see if things progress from there, but, if the Martin signing is an indicator, the Blue Jays might be (1) able to spend some serious money this offseason, and (2) able to play these things a little sneaky. While the Cubs and Red Sox are getting all of the Lester-related attention – the teams are reportedly going to meet with Lester this week (WEEI says Tuesday for the Cubs) – maybe the Blue Jays will lie in wait, and come over the top with another huge offer.
One thing that the Martin signing underscores, and for which you should be prepared in the Lester context: the size and length of free agent contracts for top tier players in the recent era will always, always, always surprise you. And, while you do have to have a concept of appropriate value, the dollars you save by not “going crazy” on Russell Martin only matter if they’re actually spent later.
That’s not an endorsement of “going crazy” on any player, but is a simple reminder that baseball markets are relative, and elite free agents are expensive. That’s simply the reality.