jon lester feature red soxLate last night, at least one mystery team popped out of the shadows to start tossing around Benjamins. Maybe.

That team, of course, being the Dodgers, and the object of their reported affection being Jon Lester. Words like “serious” and “late push” were used liberally, and the feeling among Cubs fans was a mixture of anxiety and foreboding inevitability. Is that concern justified?

Well, a few national guys have since come forward to confirm the initial report of the Dodgers’ interest.

There is Peter Gammons:



And Ken Rosenthal:

And Jon Heyman:

Meanwhile, out of Boston,  here’s Gordon Edes with a softer take:

Taking it all together, though, I don’t think you can dismiss the Dodgers’ interest as illegitimate. And, given that the Dodgers have virtually limitless dollars available and did make a serious bid for Russell Martin, there’s really nothing incongruous with the Dodgers going big on Lester here, despite a very solid top three in their rotation already.

I do find it interesting that, of the seven teams now identified or rumored as active suitors – at one time or another – of Lester, six are direct rivals. The Red Sox were always in, and then, hey, here come the Yankees. The Cubs were always in, and, hey, there are whispers about the Cardinals. The Giants got in seriously, and then, boom, the Dodgers are serious, too. Only the Braves were involved at one time without some rival jumping in, either legitimately or to drive up the price. Were I more cynical, I’d say that makes the Braves’ interest – since eschewed by president John Hart, based on the price – more trustworthy than that of the Yankees, Dodgers, and Cardinals.

In any case, the Dodgers do seem to be involved at this point, and the Red Sox aren’t going away. Nick Cafardo writes today that Lester remains Boston’s “Priority One.” Given Lester’s previous statements about money not being the deciding factor for him, I remain more worried about Boston landing Lester than Los Angeles. That said, is it strange that I feel more positive about the Cubs’ chances now than I did last week? That is not to say I feel strongly about the Cubs’ chances. Just better than I did.



We’ll see what shakes out in the coming days before the Winter Meetings. A decision could come at any time, and it’s a safe bet that there are feverish negotiations going on right now behind the scenes with several teams. Safe bet? The Cubs’ present six-year, $138 million offer probably won’t be their maximum, and probably won’t be all that close to what Lester ultimately gets.






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