SAN DIEGO -- The Cubs have agreed to sign Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million contract, as reported by Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com and Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. Chicago beat out the Red Sox, who reportedly offered a six-year, $135 million deal and the Giants, who reportedly offered a seven-year, $168 million deal, to land the prized left-hander.
The addition of Lester provides a massive boost to the Cubs' rotation, proving that the team is very serious about competing next season with a strong veteran core and a group of excellent young players. Lester joins Jake Arrieta and recent signee Jason Hammel at the top of the team's rotation, with pitchers like Felix Doubront, Jacob Turner, Travis Wood and Kyle Hendricks also in the mix for spots.
Lester, 31 in January, has posted a lifetime 116-67 record and 3.58 ERA in nine major league seasons with the Red Sox (2006-2014) and Athletics (2014). He is one of three top starters on the market this winter, joining Max Scherzer and James Shields, who is expected to sign in the near future and will be heavily courted by the three teams who lost out on Lester.
Lester's decision will send shockwaves throughout the baseball world, likely causing a series of transactions involving starting pitching throughout the final two days of the Winter Meetings. With Shields and Scherzer among the free-agent starters available and multiple arms available in trades, there will be a ton of activity over the next few days.