Results tagged ‘ Red Sox ’
Jon Lester’s imminent decision of where he will take his talents remained a dominant topic of conversation during Day 2 of the Winter Meetings, and the Red Sox and Cubs could be emerging as the two finalists. This, after Giants assistant GM Bobby Evans pointed a more pessimistic picture of where his club stands with regard to Lester.
“I feel we’re probably in the back seat of this deal right now,” Evans said. “I feel like there are some other guys driving this, and probably we’re staying in it but I’m not sure how strongly we’re a consideration considering the other options.”
Evans felt that “heart strings” might pull the lefty to another franchise despite the fact the Giants have won the World Series three times in the last five years.
That line of thinking would point to the Red Sox and Cubs, given their personal connections to Lester.
According to FOXsports.com, Lester has multiple offers in the six-year, $150-million range, and perhaps one offer of seven years. The Dodgers are another suitor that has been mentioned, but they haven’t confirmed their level of interest.
“I think that ultimately Jon has a tough decision to make,” said Evans. “You have a player who’s very passionate about his teammates in Boston, he’s very passionate about the relationships he has with maybe two clubs, including the Cubs, so therefore I think it makes it a harder decision. We at some level may be in the back seat right now. That’s understandable because there are some good options for him.”
It was originally believed that Lester would make a decision by Tuesday. But it could stretch into Wednesday, as ownership from some of the respective clubs are in the process of approving final bids.
Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod – three top executives for the Cubs – were in Boston’s front office during the majority of Lester’s time there. Lester won the World Series with the Red Sox in 2007 and ’13. Though winning a third ring in Boston would be a thrill, Lester could be part of something historic if he could be part of the Cubs winning it all for the first time since 1908.
The past two offseasons, the Cubs have pursued pitchers with the intention of flipping them at the Trade Deadline for young prospects. They’ve taken a different approach this winter, which began with the hiring of Joe Maddon as manager. The goal is to add multiple starting pitchers in hopes of being competitive in the National League Central.
“We played well at the end of the year,” Hoyer said Monday. “Our young talent has gotten a lot of publicity, for better or worse. I don’t think it’s hard to talk about, ‘Hey, we think we’re about to be very good and good for a long time.’”
Jon Lester is still on the market, and the Cubs are still an active bidder. Lester planned on talking to at least two teams this week. So far, the free agent lefty has met with the Red Sox, Cubs, and Braves, and was reportedly going to meet with the Cardinals and Giants. According to Boston reporters, the big spending Red Sox are still a possibility for Lester. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Red Sox and Cubs may pursue Cole Hamels if Lester is unavailable. However, the Phillies asking price for Hamels is high.
According to CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman, Lester could make a decision after Thanksgiving. The pitcher has said he isn’t looking for the biggest contract.
“When you get to a certain point, money can’t buy happiness,” Lester told CBSSports.com on Sept. 30. “That’s not what makes me happy. That’s not what makes me tick.”
The Cubs will have to wait a little longer for Jon Lester to make a decision regarding where he wants to pitch next year. According to WEEI’s Rob Bradford, Lester will meet with at least two more teams next week. The free agent pitcher already has talked to the Cubs, Red Sox, and Braves. The Cubs made their push on Tuesday when Lester visited Chicago.
Getting players to make decisions at Thanksgiving has been one of Theo Epstein’s strong points. In 2003, Epstein and Jed Hoyer, then in the Red Sox front office, had Thanksgiving dinner with Curt Schilling, part of their effort to get the right-hander to drop the no-trade clause in his contract and accept being traded to Boston.
“If we didn’t sign Curt, it probably would have been the worst Thanksgiving of my life,” Epstein said in 2003. “We tried to refuse [the invitation], and Curt said it was a deal breaker, they would be insulted if we didn’t go.”
Lester most likely will spend Thanksgiving at home.
— Carrie Muskat
Hopefully, Jon Lester brought a warm coat to Wrigley Field Tuesday. According to a source, Lester met with the Cubs in what was believed to be the second stop on the free agent’s offseason tour of prospective teams. The Wrigleyville area was in a deep chill because of an early blast of winter weather. It’s up to Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer, who know Lester from their days together in Boston, to convince the lefty that it won’t be this cold on Opening Night, April 5, at Wrigley Field. The Cubs would not confirm the meeting.
After losing in their bid for free agent catcher Russell Martin, Epstein and Hoyer shifted their focus to adding an ace to the rotation. Lester fits that role, compiling a 116-67 record and 3.58 ERA over nine seasons.
Lester will reportedly meet Thursday with the Braves, who do have an edge over the other teams. In the offseason, the pitcher lives in suburban Atlanta, about a half hour drive from the Braves’ ballpark.
Would Lester be willing to make a switch from the American League to the Cubs? MLB Network’s Peter Gammons, interviewed on a Boston radio station Tuesday, said he believes Lester will return to the Red Sox. Boston traded Lester to Oakland on July 31, and the lefty finished the season 6-4 with a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts with the Athletics. Lester was 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts with Red Sox before the trade.
After Lester was dealt to the A’s, he told Boston Herald writer John Tomase that he wouldn’t be opposed to coming back to Boston.
“The [Red Sox] told me [after the trade to Oakland], ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these [other] offers,'” Lester said. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be blown out of the water.’ Why would I need to be blown out of the water? That doesn’t make or break your decision, at least for me. I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”
— Carrie Muskat
WEEI’s Rob Bradford reports the Red Sox will have met with Jon Lester prior to the free agent pitcher’s scheduled to get together with Cubs officials on Tuesday. The Cubs are in the market to add a starting pitcher and Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer know Lester well from their days together in Boston.
According to reports, free agent pitcher Jon Lester will meet with Cubs officials next week. Lester’s agents have prepared a 200-plus page full color portfolio on the pitcher, along with a three-minute video. It features his charity work as well as his efforts on the field. Lester’s agent, Seth Levinson, met with Cubs officials as well as others, including Red Sox GM Ben Cherington, during the GM meetings in Phoenix. That’s standard procedure — agents touch base with all teams interested in their clients. But the bidding for Lester most likely will come down to the Cubs vs. Red Sox, who would like Lester to come back.
Just don’t expect the Cubs to sign Lester and Max Scherzer and James Shields to mega deals.
“It’s hard to acquire pitching. Period,” Theo Epstein said Wednesday in Phoenix. “It’s hard to acquire top-of-the-rotation pitching. I’ve seen us linked. People predict that we’re going to sign two top-of-the-rotation starters who both require nine-figure contracts. That’s not happening.
“Look at the history of nine-figure starting pitching contracts, and it’s a huge risk,” Epstein said. “So, to put an organization in the position to have two such deals immediately in the course of the same offseason, I couldn’t imagine something like that occurring.”
Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein know Ryan Kalish well. The outfielder was the Red Sox’s ninth-round pick in 2006, and had a lot of potential but he was injured after colliding with an outfield wall in April 2011. He eventually needed cervical fusion surgery, which involves the removal of a disc in his neck, and the insertion of a metal plate. It’s the same surgery Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had, and Kalish had the same doctor, spinal specialist Robert Watkins, and even stayed in the same hospital room.
“He’s a solid defender, runs well, puts together a great at-bat, whether it’s against righties or lefties,” manager Rick Renteria said of Kalish. “He been down for awhile with different issues over the past couple years and he’s extremely happy to be a part of the organization and part of the club. He did a nice job this spring.”
After going through the surgery and the rehab and missing all of last season, Kalish admitted he got a little emotional when told he would be on the Opening Day roster.
“I got choked up a little bit,” Kalish said. “It’s been such a wild ride to even think I’d be starting Opening Day for the Cubs this year after being in a cervical fusion recovery room overnight is just pretty wild. This is a really awesome day for myself and everyone who has seen what I’ve gone through. My family is just ecstatic.”
He still has a lot of maintenance work to do on his body. Making the team is one step, he said.
“There’s a greater sense of something bigger going on than one day of being called up,” he said. “I want to be a part of what we want to make happen. This is one really cool day and tomorrow’s my birthday, so today is pretty cool. Tomorrow, we’re working. We have a bigger goal than one call-up on one day. I’m very fortunate and blessed.”
He’ll turn 26 on Friday.
“I’m young,” he said. “I still have a lot of years, a lot of legs left to improve my game, and do what the Cubs want me to do, be a leader, play hard, get on base, steal.”
— Carrie Muskat
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Yankees and Dodgers are expected to be the most aggressive in pursuit of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka when the posting system is finalized. Major League officials and the Japanese league are ironing out details.
Sherman said executives from two clubs expect the Cubs to be in the mix as well, with one saying they will be “really aggressive.”
Sherman notes that the Cubs have several impact position players (Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Almora) but not enough pitching.
Theo Epstein and GM Jed Hoyer have been involved in the posting process for Japanese players before. They were with the Red Sox when they gave $51.1 million posting fee to land Daisuke Matsuzaka. If the Yankees, Dodgers, Rangers and Red Sox are in pursuit of Tanaka, it will be expensive.
The posting fees are still to be resolved. According to Sherman, MLB officials have been trying to lower the fees transferred from their teams to Japanese teams as part of the process to gain negotiating rights. The Rangers paid the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters $51.7 million posting fee to get Yu Darvish, then signed him to a six-year, $60 million contract.
MLB has a current proposal that involves a limit of $20 million, Sherman writes.
Why is Tanaka so highly regarded? Tanaka, 25, was 24-0 with a 1.27 ERA in 28 regular season games with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles, that’s why.
— Carrie Muskat
According to FOX Sports and MLB Network’s Ken Rosenthal, the Cubs’ negotiations with the Red Sox for Torey Lovullo are a little complicated.
At a news conference Monday, Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said no team had asked for permission to talk to Lovullo, Boston’s bench coach.
“Right now, our hope and expectation is our coaching staff is back,” Cherington said. “There have been no requests for permission for any of the Major League coaches.”
The Cubs have interviewed Rick Renteria, Dave Martinez, A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta and Brad Ausmus. On Sunday, Ausmus was named the Tigers manager.
Later Monday, Rosenthal posted that the problem could be timing.
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington said Monday that no team had contacted him yet about interviewing Boston bench coach Torey
Lovullo. The hold up may be because of timing. When Theo Epstein left the Red Sox to take over the Cubs as president of baseball operations in October 2011, the Cubs and Red Sox had an agreement they would not hire each other’s employees. There was a set time frame, which Rosenthal says may be three years.
Rosenthal said a resolution could depend on the two team’s ownership, and a concession by the Red Sox to allow Lovullo to leave.
Epstein did hire Lovullo to manage the Pawtucket Red Sox in 2010. When John Farrell was named manager of the Blue Jays for the 2011 season, Lovullo joined his coaching staff. Lovullo returned to the Red Sox in October 2012 to be the bench coach.
— Carrie Muskat