Several teams have expressed interest in lefty free agent Jon Lester, and the Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, and Red Sox appear to be the final four teams Lester will choose between. Ken Rosenthal noted on Twitter that Lester is not expected to sign before the Winter Meetings, which are slated to begin on Sunday.
The 30-year old posted a 2.46 ERA and 2.80 FIP in 219.2 innings pitched with the Red Sox and Athletics in 2014. With the increase in interest, it is possible that Lester will exceed $25 million a year after signing a new contract.
Los Angeles was not interested in Lester from the outset, however considering they are a larger market team, they have the ability to match any previous offers. The Dodgers are looking for one more starting pitcher, and placing Lester in the front of their rotation behind Clayton Kershaw would be an upgrade. Andrew Friedman, the newly appointed Dodgers President of Baseball Operations who spent time in the Rays' front office, is familiar with Lester from his American League East experience.
To this point, both the Cubs and Red Sox have made offers. The Cubs have reportedly made an offer close to $138 million, and the Red Sox felt inclined to increase their offer from $120 million to $130 million.
Although the Red Sox are interested in bringing Lester back to Boston, David Ortiz told MLB Network that Lester was "crushed" after being traded to Oakland, and as a result, a reunion with Boston might not be realistic.
The expectation was Lester would make a decision between the Cubs, Giants, and Red Sox this week, but the Dodgers' sudden interest led him to change his mind. Los Angeles has evolved as a threat because of its financial stability, and is listening to offers on Matt Kemp this offseason. A decision is expected early next week.