Even as the Dodgers became “the team” to fear in the Jon Lester pursuit, you didn’t forget about the Red Sox, right? Depending on whom you ask, the Red Sox have always been the favorite for Lester, at least once they conceded it was going to take six years and more than $20 million per year to get him.
According to WEEI, Red Sox owner John Henry took a special trip to the Atlanta area yesterday to talk to Lester, presumably to continue pushing to re-sign the lefty. Given their past relationship – and past turmoil – you never know how much that kind of personal touch can mean. Maybe it’s a last ditch effort? Or maybe it’s an owner showing just how much Lester means to the organization, trying to seal the deal. I’m not sure we can confidently say either way.
I’m assuming, by the way, that the Cubs have been in contact with Lester throughout the process as well. But it’s always felt like, if the money was close, Boston was the favorite.
The formula, then, for the Cubs to get Lester: outbid the Red Sox by a healthy chunk (while also successfully selling him on wanting to join the Cubs for non-money reasons), and hope that an over-the-top bid from San Francisco or Los Angeles (or the comforts of pitching in Atlanta) aren’t enough to sway him. I don’t love those odds, but it’s all still possible.