There was a silly little Twitter flap earlier today about Jon Lester supposedly having "signed" with the Cubs. It was quickly debunked, and eventually, I'd like to think that all these high school kids posting false "signings" on Twitter will be ignored.
We do have actual news about Lester this morning from CSN New England:
One baseball executive said it's "likely'' that the free agent pitcher will make his choice before the end of the week. Earlier reports had Lester wanting to finalize his deal before the winter meeting officially kick off next week in San Diego. Barring a late entry into the field, Lester is trying to choose between the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs and a return to the Red Sox. Lester has met with representatives of all three teams in recent weeks. As the bidding currently stands, the Chicago Cubs are said to have the biggest offer on the table ($138 million over six years), just ahead of the Red Sox proposal of six years and $130 million. The nature of the Giants' offer for Lester is unknown.
That's a good summary of what we know now, and it does appear that the Cubs' offer is the largest out there, though not by very much. It's unknown whether the Cubs would increase their offer if they felt they had to in order to sign Lester. And we don't even know if money is the No. 1 factor for Lester, since he's going to be making more than $20 million a year, most likely, from any of those three teams. Or a mystery team, since there always seems to be a mystery team involved in things like this.
$138 million over six years is an AAV of $23 million, though the Cubs might structure the contract so that amount might be higher or lower in specific seasons. They could also pay some of it as a signing bonus (as they did with Edwin Jackson) so that the AAV would wind up lower.
In any case, the CSNNE report is from a credible source and is the best indication that we should see a resolution to the Lester situation in the next couple of days.