Nationals To Sign Jon Lester

7:13pm: The Nationals have reached a one-year agreement with Lester, pending a physical, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. The contract includes a mutual option.

5:55pm: Lester and the Nats are closing in on a deal, Russell Dorsey of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

5:24pm: The Nationals and free-agent left-hander Jon Lester are “in talks,” Ken Rosenthal and Jon Greenberg of The Athletic report. It’s unclear whether the two sides are close to an agreement.

Washington would be the fourth organization for Lester, a 37-year-old who was previously with the Red Sox, Athletics and Cubs. Lester was especially impactful as a member of the Sox and Cubs, with whom he combined to win three World Series championships and pick up five All-Star appearances. Lester spent the previous six seasons in Chicago, where he largely lived up to the $155MM deal he signed before 2015, but his production fell off during his last two years in their uniform. After he combined for a 4.64 ERA/4.62 SIERA in 232 2/3 innings during that span, the Cubs let Lester reach free agency earlier this winter, turning down his $25MM option for next season in favor of a $10MM buyout.

While Lester expressed interest in remaining with the Cubs after they allowed him to become a free agent, there haven’t been reports of serious talks between him and the team since then. That could help pave the way for Lester to head to Washington, which is led by manager Dave Martinez, who was formerly the Cubs’ bench coach.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said earlier in the offseason he wanted to add a starter to the back of the team’s rotation, where Lester will slot in if he joins the team. The Nats have an enviable top three in Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, but the rest of their rotation looks somewhat questionable with Joe Ross, Erick Fedde and Austin Voth as possibilities to earn roles in 2021. Granted, after posting a 5.16 ERA/5.02 SIERA over 61 frames last year, Lester might not prove to be part of the solution, but the Nats may count on the veteran innings eater to competently fill a spot in their staff.

Published at Tue, 19 Jan 2021 01:13:12 +0000

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