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Jon Lester Rumors
The Yankees lost a homegrown star in David Robertson yesterday and they’re also losing ground in the American League with the talent that’s flowing in, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post. There have been 14 free agents to sign for $10MM or more in total, and just two of those deals were with National League teams with zero migrations from the AL to the NL. At this moment, all five AL East teams probably feel they can win the division and the wild card competition also figures to be fierce for the Bombers in 2015. More out of the AL East..
- A big part of the Yankees‘ decision to not make an offer to David Robertson was the value they put on the compensatory draft pick they would receive, according to Jack Curry of the YES Network (via Twitter). The closer agreed to join the White Sox on a four-year, $46MM deal late last night.
- The Red Sox and Reds have discussed deal that would send Yoenis Cespedes to Cincinnati, but there’s been no recent progress on that front, sources tell Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter).
- The Red Sox and Phillies have discussed a swap of Antonio Bastardo for Sean Coyle this offseason, a major league source with knowledge of the situation tells Chris Cotillo of SB Nation (via Twitter). It’s unclear if those talks are still progressing at this time, however.
- Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters yesterday that he’s confident that Boston can sign Jon Lester, but not everyone agrees. “I don’t see how the Red Sox get this done,” an official of one club who has been monitoring Lester closely told Jayson Stark of ESPN.com.
- The Giants are not interested in going to four years for Headley, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. With some uncertainty still surrounding the level of demand for Headley, Heyman suggests the Yankees could be increasingly well-positioned to bring him back.
- There is “optimism” that Headley will sign a deal today, Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com tweets. On the other hand, Jon Lester‘s negotiations remain a “yellow light factor” for Headley’s own market, says Gammons.
- Headley may not necessarily be the key to the Giants‘ fallback plans if they miss on Lester, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. San Francisco also has some trade talks ongoing. We heard yesterday that Jed Lowrie could be a free agent alternative to Headley at the hot corner.
The Red Sox are mired in “a mess of their own making” after “lowballing” Jon Lester last spring, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald writes. That reported $70MM offer (which the team later characterized as merely a starting point) got negotiations off on the wrong foot, and the team wound up dealing Lester to Oakland in July. Of course, the Red Sox could still end up signing Lester, and if they don’t, there are alternatives, like Cole Hamels or Max Scherzer. But if they don’t, Silverman writes, their decisions last spring will remain in question. Here are more quick notes from around the Majors.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says the rumors surrounding club president and CEO Paul Beeston have had no impact on him, writes MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm. “Honestly I haven’t thought about it at all today, and I’m being dead serious,” says Anthopoulos. “No one has brought it up to me, nobody. This is the first time I’ve talked about it today. I just don’t get caught up in it.” Anthopoulos claimed Chris Colabello from the Twins on Monday, and also reportedly pursued a trade for Royals closer Greg Holland.
- Rockies GM Jeff Bridich says catcher Wilin Rosario has mostly attracted interest from AL clubs, MLB.com’s Thomas Harding reports. Rosario is better offensively than defensively, and AL clubs could use him at DH. The Rangers are one possible fit, Harding suggests. A report last week indicated that the Rockies were interested in trying to trade Rosario, who is projected to receive a raise to $3.6MM in 2015 through the arbitration process. Harding writes that the Rockies would look for another catcher if they traded Rosario.
TUESDAY, 3:37am: The Cubs, Giants, Dodgers and Red Sox have all made offers to Lester of around six years and $150MM, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports writes. One unknown team is willing to go to seven years and around $175MM, but Rosenthal suggests (as Jon Heyman also did earlier this morning) that might not matter, because Lester might simply choose the team he prefers, regardless of the financial specifics.
1:44am: Lester’s limbo could continue until Wednesday, WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford tweets. Team owners are now involved in the process and are slowing it down.
1:21am: Lester has six- and seven-year offers in hand, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports tweets. It’s possible, however, that Lester won’t take the biggest-money offer. Heyman tweets that Lester’s deal is expected to wind up being somewhere from $150MM to $175MM.
MONDAY 11:54pm: Lester will not make his decision tonight, tweets Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
8:44pm: Giants GM Brian Sabean hasn’t been told when a decision is coming, but he believes that Lester will make his call soon, tweets Alex Pavlovic of the Mercury News.
Sabean says that Lester is the only player that he’s currently engaged in, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter). He also says there are five teams that are in on Lester, not four (link).
6:09pm: A front office person cautioned Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com (on Twitter) not to count the Yankees out of the Lester sweepstakes. Crasnick also spoke with a scout who is hearing the same thing.
4:38pm: The hope within the Giants’ organization that they have a legitimate shot to sign Lester has grown over the last 24 hours, according to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter). Just a week ago, they felt like they were a longshot in the chase.
4:16pm: Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe (on Twitter) hears that Lester has not eliminated the Red Sox. “Absolutely not,” a source said.
3:51pm: The Giants and Cubs seem to be the favorites, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com tweets.
3:45pm: Lester’s agent Seth Levinson denies that his client has whittled his list down to two finalists, tweets Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. The team has also said it has not been informed of any decision on its bid, per Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald (via Twitter).
3:39pm: Free agent starter Jon Lester is choosing between the Cubs and Giants, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports on Twitter. Rosenthal does caution that a late change in the bidding could shake things up.
The other teams said to be amongst the last suitors for Lester are the Red Sox and Dodgers. Boston, of course, was the only team that the 30-year-old had played before until he was dealt to the Athletics at the 2014 trade deadline.
Lester’s choice could have wide-reaching ramifications for the broader market, to say nothing of the teams involved.
The Giants have fallen short on a few free agent targets this offseason, but they’re not worried, reports Henry Schulman in a series of tweets. Per Schulman, the Giants don’t feel a need to “win” bidding wars. They’ll stick to their dollar figure, which could affect their pursuit of Jon Lester. The club clearly wasn’t comfortable topping the $68MM offer to Yasmany Tomas or $44MM offer to Nick Markakis. In the case of another free agent they missed out on – Pablo Sandoval – the Giants reportedly made a comparable offer to the Red Sox.
- Sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter) that the D’Backs would need to be “overwhelmed” to move Mark Trumbo. Still, the Mariners are among the teams that are monitoring the situation.
- Earlier today, Diamondbacks Chief Baseball Officer Tony La Russa said that contrary to reports, there was no agreed upon deal with the Dodgers that would have sent Miguel Montero to L.A. When asked if a Montero-to-the-Dodgers deal could still happen, La Russa said, “The conversations are not what they were before. I think it’s less likely,” according to Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter). However, La Russa added that ownership has not deemed Montero untouchable (link).
- Dodgers president Andrew Friedman says that he’ll let the year play out before addressing Zack Greinke‘s opt out clause, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times (on Twitter). From the sound of it, the Dodgers don’t have extension talks with the pitcher on their agenda for this winter.
- Friedman said he would have zero hesitation in trading players within the division, tweets Mark Saxon of ESPNLosAngeles.com.
- Friedman went on to say (link) that he has not visited any free agents this winter.
- Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter) doesn’t think that there’s much to the speculation that the Rangers will make a run at Padres pitcher Andrew Cashner. Texas reportedly has more interest in Tyson Ross.
Jon Lester‘s decision about a new team could swing the balance of the entire offseason, so let’s get to the latest updates on the free agent southpaw…
- Lester’s camp is waiting to see if a club will up its offer to the $150MM level and/or include a seventh year, whether guaranteed or through a vesting option, per a report from Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com. The bidding is believed to be sitting around $140MM over six years at present, McAdam adds.
- A decision tomorrow is more likely than this evening, Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports. The interest of the final suitors “continues to evolve,” per Bradford.
- The Giants are receiving serious consideration from Lester and his team, Rosenthal tweets.
- Lester is expected to choose a destination no earlier than tonight and no later than tomorrow, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney tweets.
- The Giants met with Seth Levinson, one of Lester’s agents, on Sunday night and the team hopes to have a deal worked out in the next couple of days, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports (Twitter links).
- An executive not involved in the Lester bidding predicts that the hurler will get a seven-year deal, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets. “Book it,” the exec said. Lester has reportedly already received at least two offers north of $130MM.
Here’s the latest on free agent ace Jon Lester.
- The Giants are “
very serious” about Lester, but are considering possible alternatives in case Lester doesn’t sign with them, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes. Those alternatives include free agents Ervin Santana, Francisco Liriano, Max Scherzer and James Shields, along with potential trade target Cole Hamels.
- It looks like at least two teams have bid more than $130MM for Lester, Heyman writes. The Cubs, Red Sox, Giants and Dodgers are all contenders for Lester, but the Cubs are reportedly trying to separate themselves, with an offer that could top $140MM. Lester appears likely to pick a new team by the end of this week’s Winter Meetings.
David Ortiz plans to give some guidance to Hanley Ramirez as he begins his next chapter with the Red Sox, writes Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe. “He looks at me as one of his older brothers,” Ortiz said. “I’m going to try to encourage him to do the right thing as long we keep on playing [together] and probably beyond that because I don’t have the time that he has left. I’m going to, like we normally say, take him under my wing and show him whatever I can help him with and make sure he’s really successful in Boston.” More from the AL East..
- Anthony McCarron of the New York Daily News wonders if the Yankees are really out on a big money pitcher. They’d like to retain Brandon McCarthy and could go after someone like Justin Masterson, but some in the industry feel that they’ll ultimately wind up in the mix for a starter like Max Scherzer.
- Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald also hears that the Red Sox will begin to explore Scherzer more aggressively if they lose out on Jon Lester. Besides the Red Sox, the teams who are expected to take a long, serious look at the right-hander are the Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals, Tigers, Phillies, Cardinals, Cubs, White Sox, Giants, and Blue Jays, industry insiders tell Silverman.
- Signing Lester is important, but the Red Sox need to put an even greater focus on developing the next Lester, opines Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald.
- George A. King III of the New York Post runs down the Yankees‘ three biggest needs heading into the meetings.
- The Red Sox have lots on their agenda this week, writes Tim Britton of The Providence Journal.
The Giants’ interest in Chase Headley is “turning aggressive,” FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports (via Twitter). San Francisco had been linked to Headley and several other notable players in the wake of Pablo Sandoval leaving for Boston, though it appears they’ve stepped up their pursuit of Headley to fill their third base vacancy.
Headley reportedly has a four-year, $65MM offer in hand from a mystery team, a sizable bump from the four-year, $48MM that MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes predicted Headley would receive in free agency. The Marlins and Yankees have both been linked to Headley in rumors, though neither team is the one behind the $65MM offer; the Yankees, in fact, don’t seem willing to go beyond three years to sign him.
Rosenthal isn’t sure how, if at all, the Giants’ focus on Headley could impact their interest in Jon Lester, who had also been cited as Giants target in recent days. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams noted in his Giants Offseason Outlook, the team was willing to give Sandoval a deal in the $95MM range and undoubtedly had a bump in revenue from their World Series victory. If I had to guess, I’d suspect that the Giants would be able to afford both Headley and an ace-level starter like Lester if they felt the need.
Here’s the latest on left-hander Jon Lester…
- Lester was visited at his Atlanta home by Red Sox owner John Henry on Friday, according to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford and Alex Speier. This is Henry’s second visit to Atlanta this winter, as he and other members of Boston’s ownership group met with Lester earlier this offseason.
- The relationship between Lester and Red Sox ownership was addressed by Joel Sherman of the New York Post in his recent analysis of Lester’s market. A source involved in the negotiations described the two sides as “frenemies,” as Lester’s trust in the Sox organization was badly damaged by their lowball extension offer to him last spring. In pursuing Lester, then, the Sox have been doing everything they can to repair that trust, with Sherman comparing it to how Dan Gilbert (owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers) had to atone for his past errors when convincing LeBron James to rejoin the Cavs last summer.
- Lester “never even comes up in discussions” in the Yankees front office, one team executive tells Sherman. It is looking less and less likely that the Yankees will make a last-minute entry into the Lester sweepstakes, leaving perhaps the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Giants as the four finalists.
- Also from Sherman, Lester’s good friend Tim Hudson is working hard to convince the lefty to join him in the Giants rotation. Lester was reportedly “very impressed” by a meeting with manager Bruce Bochy.