The Chicago Cubs have agreed to sign left-hander Jon Lester, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
Lester's new deal is over six years and is worth $155 million, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. It includes a $15 million vesting option for the 2021 season, David Kaplan of CSN Chicago reports.
The Lester saga is finally over. After narrowing the large field of suitors down to what it looked to be three teams, the Red Sox, Giants, and Cubs, Lester waited until early Wednesday morning (on the east) to officially decide on his text team.
Lester is just one of many additions the Cubs have made this offseason. They brought back Jason Hammel to a two-year deal and acquired Miguel Montero from the Diamondbacks for prospects, all during these active Winter Meetings.
"It feels like we’ve definitely won the baseball lottery," said Cubs manager Joe Maddon (via New York Daily News’ Andy Martino).
With these moves, and some help from their boatload of prospects, the Cubs will be legitimate contenders in 2015. This offseason was looking to be one of the most important ones in recent memory for Chicago, and they have already capitalized, filling needs in the rotation and catcher.
Lester joins a rotation that includes the likes of Jake Arrieta, Travis Wood, and Kyle Hendricks. Him, Arrieta, and Hammel make up a solid top three in the rotation, but this offseason is still young. The Cubs may turn their attention to James Shields or even acquire another starter via trade.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, still need some starting pitching and could do so via the trade market or the free agent market. They are rumored to be interested in acquiring Wade Miley from the Diamondbacks, so that may be part of the answer in terms of pitching. Shields could also be an option for Boston.
The 30-year-old Lester went 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA and a 1.10 WHIP in 32 starts in 2014. Over his 219.2 innings pitched, Lester struck out 220, walking just 48. He was worth 6.1 fWAR. He set career-bests in ERA, innings pitched, strikeout-to-walk ratio, and fWAR as he earned his third career All-Star appearance.
The Bellarmine High School (Tacoma, Washington) alum was selected in the 2nd round of the 2002 MLB Draft. Over his nine season big league career, in which he spent time with the Red Sox and Athletics, Lester is 116-67 with a 3.58 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP, while averaging 215 innings pitched per season. Lester has a 121 ERA+ in his total 1596 innings pitched.