Former Red Sox and Athletics ace Jon Lester has been courted by several teams this offseason, including the Red Sox, Cubs, Giants, Brave and Cardinals. The Cubs are reported to have offered Lester a 6 year, $138 million contract, and the Red Sox are in the $130 million range. Lester met with the Giants a few days ago, and now it is being reported that the Dodgers are showing interest in all of the free agent pitchers, most notably Lester.
There has been talk that Lester wants a 6 year, $150 million deal, and he might just get that if WEEI.com's Rob Bradford's report is accurate:
While the Red Sox, Cubs and Giants have all been part of a public courtship process of Jon Lester, interest from the industry's financial heavyweights - the Yankeesand Dodgers - had not been documented. But multiple sources connected to teams interested in Lester have told WEEI.com that the Dodgers are a late entrant into the sweepstakes, with both serious interest in the top left-hander on the market and the resources to make a hard, late charge.
One industry source was under the impression that the Dodgers had already entered the bidding with an offer to Lester, while another characterized the Dodgers as poised to play a role similar to the one made by the Yankees in December 2008, when New York swooped in late to signMark Teixeira away from other interested bidders with a high bid of eight years and $180 million. A third noted of the Dodgers' potential interest that Lester "could help any team looking to win championships," the unquestioned bar for a Los Angeles team that is after its first title since 1988.
Lester is garnering plenty of interest for three reasons: 1) he's an ace, 2) he has experience in the playoffs and Wordl Series, and 3) the team that signs him will not have to give up their first round draft pick since he was traded mid-season.
Lester is coming off an excellent 2014 season, where he went 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA, 2.80 FIP, a 3.10 xFIP, a 24.9 K% and a career low 1.10 WHIP in a career high 219.1 innings.
Lester would slot in a the Dodgers third ace and bolster their rotation that would look like this:
1. Clayton Kershaw
2, Zack Greinke
3. Jon Lester
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu
5. Dan Haren
That's would rank as the best rotation in the game, but then again, the Tigers had a rotation that included Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez, David Price, Justin Verlander and Rick Porcello and were knocked out in the ALDS last season.
As a Dodgers fan, I would certainly approve of this signing, especially since Greinke can opt out of his contract after the 2015 season. Greinke has not indicated one way or another whether he will opt out or not, and maybe he won't. He is set to make $23 million in 2015 and 2017, and $24 million in 2016 and 2018, so I am not sure how much more money he can make if he does opt out. He will be 32 years of age after the 2015 season, so there is a good chance he could get another 4-5 year deal from some team.