After landing one big name free agent with the signing of Russell Martin, the Blue Jays hope to land another in Jon Lester, according to Rob Bradford of WEEI.com, who notes that Toronto is one of six teams showing "legitimate interest" in the southpaw. Peter Gammons of GammonsDaily.com spoke with general manager Alex Anthopoulos, who downplayed the team's interest, saying that the team "won't go to six years" and "know [they] won't be in."
@pgammo trades. We'll check in on Lester, but we won't go to six years, and we know we won't be in."— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) November 17, 2014
Lester is entering his first year in the free agent market. After spending nine big league seaons with Boston and part of 2014 in Oakland, Lester is clearly the top left-handed starter in the 2015 market. For the 2014 season, Lester posted a career-best 2.46 ERA, along with a 9.01 K/9 rate over 219.2 IP. Bradford notes that Lester is expected to meet with the Cubs and Red Sox later this week.
The Jays currently have seven potential starters in R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, and Marco Estrada. If they were to land Lester, the Jays could move some of that pitching depth to help fill some needs in the outfield, as well a spot in the infield. The Jays have shown interest in making a trade for Howie Kendrick, as well as bringing back free agent Melky Cabrera.