By Sam Nipatnantaporn 11-29-14
Jon Lester is a hot commodity around Major League Baseball these days. Among the numerous teams interested in acquiring the lefty ace, the top three are the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and San Francisco Giants.
It’s clear why the Red Sox want Lester back. They are desperately in need of pitching, and Lester is a hometown hero. However, their offer to Lester hit a soft spot. They aggressively offered a six-year, $120 million deal in comparison to their prior offer of four years, $70 million in March. Of course Lester, and all of Red Sox Nation, wondered why they offered the four years, $70 in the first place. It was practically insulting. Now, it’s up to Lester to decide whether or not he wants to hold a grudge and come back to pitch for Boston.
Theo Epstein, the Cubs’ General Manager and Boston’s former GM, has yet to give up on trying to build a contending team. The Cubs have offered Lester six years, $135 million. Epstein has made it clear that he’s ready to compete and build a team around Lester if he decides to be their No. 1 starter in 2015. Lester’s choice: go elsewhere or be a part of the Cubs’ rebuilding and possibly contribute to the franchise’s first championship win in over a century.
The San Francisco Giants lost out on Pablo Sandoval to the Red Sox and are now looking to make a comeback acquisition. Though they were only willing to pay Sandoval $95 million, the Giants haven’t shied away from dealing out big contracts to pitchers: Tim Lincecum at two-years, $35 million and Matt Cain at eight-years, $139.75 million. To have a Jon Lester/Madison Bumgarner combo for 2015 could lead the Giants to their fourth World Series title in six years.
The NL West will be a competitive place should Lester choose the Giants. Their track record for winning isn’t too shabby, and if they’re willing to dish out more than the Cubs, there’s no reason why Lester shouldn’t accept their offer. Money, a championship…there’s not more to it except for comfort.
Jon Lester was with Boston for pretty much his entire most of his career. His brief stint with Oakland doesn’t change the fact that Boston was home to him. With the Cubs, Lester would have Epstein and various other executives whom he has worked with while in Boston.
These three teams have expressed interest and made their moves. Now it’s Lester’s turn.