Three Landing Spots for New Free Agent Jon Lesterby Ben Fadden October 31, 2020 1 comment
The Chicago Cubs have declined Jon Lester‘s $25 million option and he is now a free agent. Lester is one of the most accomplished starting pitchers in the game and could be an asset for a contending team.
The Cubs weren’t expected to pick up Lester’s $25 million option so this move isn’t a surprise. Instead, they opted for paying him a $10 million buyout. His numbers have declined as he has increased in age but every team understands the impact Lester can bring to a clubhouse and you never know, he could flashback to his prime if he’s able to pitch in the postseason again.
With that said, here are three fits for Lester in his first winter as a free agent since the 2014-2015 offseason.
Just because the Cubs didn’t pick up Lester’s option doesn’t mean they don’t want him to remain in a Cubs uniform. $25 million is just an insane number for any pitcher this winter unless your name is Trevor Bauer. Lester was on MLB Network Radio on Friday and expressed that he would be open to going back to the windy city. “The feeling is mutual on both sides that we want to try to get something done,” Lester said. The 37-year-old had a career-worst 5.16 ERA but his numbers in 2020 aren’t a true indicator of Lester’s abilities because he only made 12 starts. Without Lester, the Cubs rotation consists of Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks, and perhaps Alec Mills.
It has been reported the Braves are interested in Adam Wainwright, who is a veteran reliever just like Lester and the Braves need starting rotation help, so they will likely check in on Lester. Their ace, Mike Soroka suffered a season-ending Achilles injury but he will be back next year at the top of a rotation that currently includes Ian Anderson and Kyle Wright. Adding Lester wouldn’t make many hitters in the NL East too comfortable.
New York Yankees
The Yankees believed that Gerrit Cole was their missing piece to a World Series championship team, but that wasn’t the case in 2020. New York fell short in the ALDS to the AL champion Tama Bay Rays. The team declined the club option on J.A. Happ and Luis Severino isn’t returning from Tommy John surgery until the middle of the 2021 season so that leaves Cole, Deivi Garcia, and Jordan Montgomery as the only starters currently on the Yankees depth chart. New York would probably be an appealing spot for Lester because he is near the end of his career so he’s going to want to go to a team that is going to contend for a World Series in 2021. The Yankees certainly fit that bill.
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