Theo Epstein was prepared to go the extra mile if $155 million wasn?t enough.
Lester signed a lucrative, six-year contract with the Chicago Cubs for various reasons, including his relationship with Epstein, his desire to help the organization snap its 106-year World Series drought and the club?s seemingly bright future. However, Epstein, the former Boston Red Sox general manager now serving as the Cubs? president of baseball operations, was willing to pull out all the stops.
?I was ready to soak myself in deer urine, if necessary,? Epstein said Monday, according to CSNChicago.com.
The quote on its own is tremendous. The image of Epstein wielding a bottle of pee during contract negotiations in the hopes of Lester being enamored is absolutely priceless. Epstein’s willingness — or maybe it?s a threat, who knows? — isn?t without context, though. Lester is an avid hunter who apparently took a trip or two at some point during his free agency process. He presumably used deer urine in some capacity.
Fortunately, for hygiene?s sake, Epstein never needed to dump a giant bottle of pee all over himself last week at the Major League Baseball winter meetings in San Diego. Lester decided the trust he already had established with Epstein and Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer from their days together in Boston was enough to lure him to the Windy City.
?We had an advantage because we know his personality so well,? Epstein said of Lester and his family. ?We know their values, what they were looking for, what they would care about, what they wouldn?t care about. We were able to customize the itinerary.?
The itinerary never involved Lester and Epstein laying in shrubs with their guns loaded and a pee stench filling the air. But it could have, and Epstein wouldn?t have minded.
Thumbnail photo via Paul Beaty/The Associated Press