[While the second tier of the pitching market gets underway thanks to the Cubs and Jason Hammel, the baseball world still waits on the top tier … ]
These Jon Lester rumors are going to move fast and furious until a decision is made. I can tell. I am sorrynotsorry for the number of Lester updates you’re likely to get over the next few days.
The latest comes from a pair of reports from Nick Cafardo and Rob Bradford, each of which touches on the apparent importance of Red Sox owner John Henry making a trip to visit Lester outside of Atlanta on Friday (his second visit) to press the courtship. Cafardo hears from a source that the visit “moved the needle” a bit toward Boston, and Bradford’s piece goes on an on about the importance of that visit.
Before you say – as I almost typed, myself – that Tom Ricketts should jump on a plane as soon as possible, remember that the Henry-Lester thing isn’t just about “an owner” courting “a player” in person. It’s about their very specific, long-term, and twisty-turny relationship. It’s unique to them, and I don’t think any personal courtship from anyone with the Cubs would have quite the same kind of impact. Such is the Red Sox’s theoretical advantage here, and why we’re not hearing about their offer being at the top of the market. It probably doesn’t have to be.
Cafardo adds that the Cubs will meet again with Lester’s agents today, and possible tomorrow, as well. The fight isn’t being conceded (and it may not even be down to just the Cubs and Red Sox, as you well know).
On the Giants, by the way, Jim Bowden adds this, which was confirmed by Ken Rosenthal:
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowden_ESPN) December 8, 2014
These kinds of little touches may not completely swing a decision – even if they do “move the needle” – but, again, if the money winds up being even remotely close, Lester seems like the kind of guy who is going to go where he feels most comfortable and where he feels like he can win.