9:10pm: The Dodgers aren’t in on Lester, Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times tweets. It indeed seems that the Cubs and Red Sox are the two finalists for Lester’s services.
8:36pm: Lester is still finalizing his choice between the Cubs and Red Sox, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
8:21pm: The Giants were called by Lester earlier tonight to inform them that he was signing elsewhere, assistant GM Bobby Evans told reporters (including Alex Pavlovic of the Bay Area News Group). As Evans put it, “We did not receive a rose.”
7:36pm: CSN Chicago’s David Kaplan hears from “two very good MLB sources” who believe the Cubs are the leading contenders to sign Lester. An executive connected to at least one of the teams in the hunt, however, tells Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times (Twitter link) that he thinks Lester is leaning towards San Francisco.
5:31pm: The Lester sweepstakes “is nearing [the] finish line” and there is a “reasonable belief” that Lester could pick his new team by tonight, ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets. Olney adds that Lester will soon be presented with his final offers from teams, though WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports that Lester’s agents are not quite ready to present those final offers to their client. There’s “still a strong possibility” that Lester make his decision until Wednesday, Bradford writes.
4:41pm: Giants GM Brian Sabean thinks his team is still “very much in” the hunt for Lester, The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweets.
2:58pm: Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans says that he has been led to believe that lefty Jon Lester is leaning toward signing with another club, Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM reports (links to Twitter). San Francisco is “in the back seat” in negotiations at present, Evans said.
Lester has told the Giants that he is not going to simply take the highest bid, as has previously been reported. Evans left Bowden with the impression that San Francisco believes the starter is drawn to joining the Cubs or Red Sox.
Various reports have suggested that Lester’s decision would continue to be delayed as the teams involved — up to and including their owners — make a final push to land him. With the bidding said to be at or even above the $150MM level, Lester will surely feel comfortable that he has earned a market-value deal regardless of where he ends up.