The Chicago Cubs appear to be among the most serious suitors for free-agent left-hander Jon Lester.
The Cubs offered Lester a six-year contract worth $138 million, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, citing sources, reported Monday. CSNChicago.com’s David Kaplan reported last week that Chicago offered the three-time All-Star “north of $135 million.”
Lester already has met with the Cubs, who feature some familiarity in the form of president of baseball operations Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer. Both front-office executives know the pitcher well from their days together in Boston.
Chicago certainly will have plenty of competition in its pursuit of Lester, though. Lester met with the San Francisco Giants on Monday, according to multiple reports. One of San Francisco’s biggest sales pitches apparently involves Giants pitcher Tim Hudson, who, like Lester, is an Atlanta native. The two are said to be close, according to Heyman.
Perhaps Chicago’s biggest road block in signing Lester, however, is the Boston Red Sox. The southpaw spent his first eight-plus seasons with Boston before being dealt to the Oakland Athletics at this year’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline. Several members of the Red Sox organization — namely general manager Ben Cherington, manager John Farrell and principal owner John Henry — have expressed interest in a potential reunion with Lester. Heyman suggests Boston could go to $130 million over six years.
Lester, who turns 31 in January, is coming off a season in which he went 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA in 32 starts.
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