To no one’s surprise, the Cubs announced late Friday that they had declined the mutual option for 2021 for $25 million on Jon Lester’s contract. Instead, the lefthander will get a $10 million buyout.
If that’s it for Jon in a Cubs uniform, the photo above is from his last start, against the White Sox on the final regular-season weekend of 2020. It wasn’t his finest hour and there’s no need to rehash it here. In the coming days I’ll write up something about Jon and his time with the Cubs — he’s likely the best free-agent signing in franchise history.
I think there’s a reasonable chance that he’ll be back. He’s expressed an interest in returning and David Ross and Theo Epstein have both hinted they’d like him back. We’ll see.
The Cubs also claimed Max Schrock on waivers from the Cardinals.
Schrock, a lefthanded-hitting infielder, was a 13th-round pick of the Nationals out of the University of South Carolina in 2015. He wound up with the Athletics in a minor deal in 2016 and the following year, came to St. Louis in the deal that sent Stephen Piscotty to the A’s.
In five minor league seasons, the left-handed hitting Schrock has batted .300 (541-for-1,805) with 103 doubles, eight triples, 24 home runs, 204 RBI and 50 stolen bases in 480 contests. He went 3-for-17 in 11 MLB games for the Cardinals in 2020, including a home run in the second game of a doubleheader against the Cubs August 17 at Wrigley Field off Kyle Ryan.
In another roster move Friday, the Cubs outrighted lefthander Rex Brothers to Triple-A Iowa. The 40-man roster currently stands at 31 players.
There’s been no word yet on the Cubs’ team options for 2020 for Anthony Rizzo and Daniel Descalso. It’s long been assumed that the Cubs would pick up Rizzo’s option and decline Descalso’s (he’s owed a $1 million buyout in that case). The team has two more days to decide what to do with those options.
As always, we await developments.