chicago cubs logo featureToday, free agent lefty Jon Lester officially becomes Chicago Cubs lefty Jon Lester, having signed a club-record six-year, $155 million deal.

The deal is meaningful not only for the impact on the 2015 Chicago Cubs – Lester is pretty damn good, y’all – but also for what it means to the Cubs and Cubs fans going forward. It’s going to be fun to see him put on that jersey.

That’s coming soon: the introductory press conference starts at 1pm CT, and you can watch/listen at MLB.com, CSNChicago, or ESPN 1000. If you can’t follow along with one of those, or if you can and you still want to hang around for the updates here, I’ll be rolling out live important bits/comments/reactions/fist pumps below.



Let’s party.

– The feed is hovering on a doorway, and I have never been so excited to look at an empty door frame.

– Theo Epstein opens things by thanking and welcoming Lester’s family with a huge smile.

– Epstein says this is a very, very significant day for the Cubs, who get better on the field, in the clubhouse, and in the community. This is a transition for the Cubs, and Epstein says the team is clearly very serious about bringing a World Series to Chicago.

– Ah, the jersey!

– The jersey number, by the way, is 34. That’s Kerry Wood’s former number, if you’re keeping score.

– Lester is honored to be a part of the organization, and all of that good stuff. He has fully bought into The Plan.

– Lester sees how excited Cubs fans are (“crazy” in a good way), and he feels ready to be a part of that, given how it was in Boston. He’s glad to have the chance to bring a World Series to another fan base that hasn’t had one in so long.

– Epstein goes through an oral history of scouting and drafting Jon Lester, and then bringing him up in the organization with the Red Sox.

– It took Lester time to come to his decision, but ultimately it felt like the right time and place for them. They fully buy in and “take on the responsibility of trying to bring this city a World Series.”



– Lester is aware of the different ways Wrigley played, but he didn’t quite get into details on how you approach it on different days.

– Lester says he fell into some bad mechanics heading into 2012, which flattened out a lot of his pitches. Halfway through 2012, he says he made adjustments, and he felt like he threw the ball better after that. And the run-up to 2014, he was locked in by the time the 2013 World Series came around. He just feels more comfortable in his skin and in his role as “the guy.”

– The final decision was made by Lester and his family just hours before it broke.

– Lester treats his job as a job, but he has fun doing it. He puts his head down and does his work, but isn’t going to tell folks he’s the leader and they should follow him. Hopefully other players see that and do the same thing.

– Lester says he’s prepared for the scrutiny that comes with a big contract, in part, because he was in Boston for eight years. (laughs)



– Lester brings his son up to join him:

– Lester says he’ll have to adjust to the new coaching staff, and being in the NL, but he also sounds pretty darn laid back about any and all adjustments.

– Epstein says that after Lester gave his decision, he went back to the suite at the Winter Meetings and thanked everyone involved in the org, because their work put the Cubs in this position over the past few years. The Cubs were very competitive by the end of 2014, and also have the best farm system in baseball. If not for those things, Lester probably doesn’t choose the Cubs.

– And Lester follows up, confirming, “I like to win.” Rarely does a guy like Lester come to a last place team, but he believes this is not a last place team for long. “I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think we could win in 2015.”

– That’s a pretty good note on which to end, and so they do.




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