jon lester feature red soxYour small evening update on the Chicago Cubs’ pursuit of lefty Jon Lester, and some of the teams against whom they may be competing.

To that latter part, we already knew that there would be teams involved in Lester’s free agency, outside of the Cubs and Red Sox. Other than a Blue Jays rumor that GM Alex Anthopolous mostly scuttled, however, we didn’t really know who those other teams might be.

Well, it looks like two of ’em are the Braves and Cardinals.

Your tweets of note:



Some thoughts:

(1.) It’s awfully convenient that the Cardinals are now publicly involved with the Cubs’ next-highest free agent target (at least presumed) only a day after they lost out on their other top target (at least presumed). Legit? Sure, it’s possible. The Cardinals have a theoretical rotation opening, and they are expected to have more money available in the coming years. Is it also possible that the Cardinals are pushing because they know it impacts the Cubs? Or maybe Lester’s camp is getting this out there for leverage purposes?

(2.) Lester has a home in Atlanta, Georgia, so there’s a little something there. Will the Braves splurge on a huge starter contract, however, after starting a rebuild – even a short-term one? I wouldn’t rule anything out, but … no, I really don’t think so.

(3.) The appearance of these meetings/interest, however, does serve as a reminder that, for all the buzz (and early-morning guesses), we might still be relatively early in the Lester decision-making process. Enter Buster Olney:

Now, then.

It appears that the Cubs’ pursuit of Lester is proceeding according to plan, at least in terms of the things they can control. Carrie Muskat hears from a source that the Cubs did meet with Lester in Chicago today, but the Cubs will not confirm it. We may yet hear more on the meeting in the coming days, but I expect that, given the folks involved, it went as well as it could.



There’s no word yet that I’ve seen or heard on the Red Sox’s planned meeting with Lester – the one they were hoping to have before the Cubs had a chance. Presumably, if it didn’t happen yet, it will soon.

From there, we’ll see if some of the negotiations slip out into the public. If Olney is right – and the other meetings/interest suggest he is – there may not be much definitive, or even approaching definitive, until after all these meetings have taken place, and then everyone takes a Thanksgiving break to regroup. In that case, as some have guessed, a decision might not come until December. That’s usually how these top tier free agencies play out, even at the swiftest.




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