Although the Cardinals didn’t quite seem a likely destination for free agent lefty Jon Lester, their presence in the conversation was always unnerving. According to multiple reports, the Cardinals – who definitely are in the market for a starting pitcher – were going to meet with Lester at some point after he’d already met with the Red Sox, Cubs, and Braves. Initial reports had that meeting taking place this week, and subsequent reports had the meeting taking place next week.
Is that meeting off? Was it ever on?
According to Derrick Goold, the Cardinals aren’t currently scheduled to meet with Lester and/or his representatives. In a much longer piece today on the Cardinals and pitching, generally (one worth reading, and one that will make you feel increasingly good about the Cubs’ slow-played approach to acquiring pitching), here’s what Goold had to say about Lester, in pertinent part:
The Cardinals, as of this week, had no plans to bring Lester to St. Louis for a visit. Their interest in the lefty appears as much opportunistic as enthusiastic — what Mozeliak has often referred to as “due diligence.”
Although Goold’s piece does not entirely rule out the Cardinals being in on Lester, it does sound unlikely – and unlike the Cardinals in the Mozeliak era.
Whatever the case, it’s odd that there were so many reports of a meeting forthcoming between the Cardinals and Lester (maybe not so coincidentally coming out around the time that the Cubs and Lester’s came may have been involved in negotiations?), and then the first local report on the subject says no meeting is scheduled.
Maybe there was going to be a meeting, but then the bidding reached a point where the Cardinals decided they weren’t going to be involved and the meeting would be fruitless? Maybe the earlier reports were speculative and mistaken? Or maybe a meeting is still forthcoming at some point, and it’s just a matter of formally scheduling it?
In the end, I don’t think folks were terribly concerned about the Cardinals actually landing Lester, particularly in light of a flood of rumors about the Red Sox as favorites despite a healthy offer reportedly coming from the Cubs.