The move you have been waiting all off season for has finally happened, and I am not talking about the trade the Chicago Cubs made for Miguel Montero. As teams continued to drop out of the running through the night, the Cubs stayed alive, vanquishing the Boston Red Sox, and signed their top target Jon Lester to a deal worth $155 Million over six years according to a report from Jeff Passan.
Jon Lester, Cubs agree on six-year, $155M deal, sources tell Yahoo Sports. Red Sox are runners-up. Their final bid: six for $135M.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 10, 2014
The Cubs had been seen as the favorite to land Lester since before the season ended, though the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox also emerged as serious contenders along the way.
There was serious doubt from many Cub fans that the team would actually spend whatever they had to in order to land Lester, because the past few years they had fallen short in their attempts to sign top notch pitching like Anibal Sanchez and Masahiro Tanaka. Doubts crept even further in when the Cubs failed to land another one of their targets Russell Martin who wound up signing a five year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays worth $82 Million. Many Cub fans were glad the team did not offer Martin a contract larger than what the Jays did, but pointed to them not paying what they needed to in order to land him as further proof that Tom Ricketts and the Cubs were being “cheap”. Using that logic, they deemed the Cubs unlikely to sign Lester simply because they would not offer up enough money to convince him to come here. With the Lester talks dragging on, the time had come for Ricketts, Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer to either put up, or shut up.
Well today, the Cubs proved their doubters wrong and put up in a big way. They ponied up the big bucks to land one of the best pitchers on the free agent market, and paid a hefty fee to get him. They took out their check books, and wrote a check large enough to back up what they promised us when the season ended. That they were serious about contending in 2015.
The Cubs have already spent a lot of money this winter, re-signing Jason Hammel, trading for Montero and now adding in Lester. Whats more, they may not even be done as they have recently been reported to want to add an outfielder as well. Perhaps this spending spree will be enough to cast off the “cheap” label that so many have stuck them with; though that likely will not happen unless they spend like this in free agency year after year. Right now though, I doubt that you will find many people calling Ricketts cheap because he got his man, and paid him a hefty fee to come to Chicago.
UPDATE: Now the Lester signing is official!
Physical passed, particulars hammered out, the Jon Lester deal with the Cubs is now official. Press conference Monday.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 13, 2014
Cubs to intro Jon Lester at 1 pm press conference on Monday.
— Jesse Rogers (@ESPNChiCubs) December 13, 2014