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The Russell Martin Signing, And What It Might Mean For The Cubs And Jon Lester

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We've got some clues as to how the Cubs approached Russell Martin. Could that mean they're aiming high for Jon Lester?

Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Martin's signing with the Toronto Blue Jays last week was a disappointment to many Cubs fans -- at least until we found out that the Jays had given Martin five years and $82 million, more years and dollars than many of us thought the Cubs should be willing to give.

Jesse Rogers of ESPN Chicago posted this interesting article that goes inside the Cubs' pursuit of Martin. I found these passages most illuminating:

"There were times throughout the process where it was Toronto and the Cubs, 1 and 2," Colleran recalled this past weekend. "They probably flipped spots in that process. One day the Cubs [were] going a little ahead, and the next Toronto was ahead. When we got into the [last] weekend the dollars started to come into play, and Toronto was just super aggressive with their approach."

Colleran actually indicated the Blue Jays were the most aggressive team from the start of free agency, as he received a call from them at "9:01 a.m. on the very first day." But the Cubs were nearly as aggressive, and their face-to-face meeting couldn't have gone better, according to the agent.

"Those guys are incredibly professional," Colleran said of the Cubs' front office. "The presentation was professional and on point … Russ came away super impressed." 

So there's no doubt that the Cubs were serious about Martin, bowing out only because the dollars and years got too high.

What does all this have to do with Jon Lester? Well, given this sort of pursuit and the fact that at least one agent had high praise for the Cubs' front-office presentation to his client, I have no doubt that the Cubs will pursue Lester as far as they can. Could they get outbid, as they did for Martin? Sure, but now that the Red Sox have signed Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez, Boston's budget might be stretched enough that the Cubs can come in with the high bid.

I've often criticized this front office, as you know. But as for Martin, I'm glad they made a top-notch presentation and then decided the money and years were too much for them, in this case.

Maybe it'll help lead to a news conference with Jon Lester in blue pinstripes next month.