Jon Lester rumors: Red Sox one of four teams involved


Even after signing two big-name players this offseason, the Red Sox are still heavy in the free agent game and Jon Lester has clearly stepped to the forefront as Boston’s top target. After trading Lester to Oakland and John Lackey to St. Louis at the trade deadline, the Red Sox have two major holes at the top of their rotation and Lester would be an excellent addition to a Red Sox team that is looking to contend immediately.

Lester is a fan favorite in Boston after spending his entire career in the Red Sox’ organization prior to a midseason trade to the A’s. Plus, he is coming off the best season of his illustrious career, which saw him post a career-low 2.46 ERA and 2.0 BB/9, while bumping his strikeout numbers (9.0 K/9) to his best rate since 2010. With that in mind, it makes perfect sense to bring Lester back to the city which he has called home for almost a decade.

However, even with rumors that Lester would potentially take a hometown discount, he certainly isn’t expected to come cheap and the latest rumors uphold that expectation.

The race for Lester’s services has supposedly come down to four teams: the Red Sox, Cubs, Giants, and Dodgers. The Red Sox and Cubs have been in on Lester for the entire offseason, with the Giants entering the race after losing out on Pablo Sandoval; however, the Dodgers are the latest addition to the mix and they’re certainly a big one. Los Angeles has made a name of themselves for spending wild amounts of money on the free agent market in recent seasons, sporting a payroll even higher than that of the Yankees, and if they’re truly invested in Lester, they could easily outbid all of the teams in the mix.

It remains to be seen exactly how the Dodgers will play the Lester negotiations, but it appears that we’ll find out relatively soon. Before the Dodgers entered the mix, Lester was expected to make his decision by this weekend and, while he has postponed that announcement for a bit, he is still expected to sign with a team by the end of the Winter Meetings, which take place next week.

If Lester signs elsewhere, the Red Sox will be forced to adopt a frantic pursuit of other options on the free agent or trade market, such as James Shields and Cole Hamels. Neither of those pitchers would be ideal options, making Lester the team’s biggest priority this winter. With that in mind, we expect the Lester rumors to be swirling around over the course of the next week, and we’ll keep you updated here at BoSox Injection.