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Why haven’t the Cubs signed this guy yet, Part 3: Jon Lester

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The Cubs need pitching and he can provide it.

Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

There are a lot of people who say the Cubs should sign Jon Lester so he could get his 200th win in a Cubs uniform and, near the end of the 2021 season when fans are allowed back in Wrigley Field, get a sendoff from Cubs fans.

I’m here to tell you I’m not one of those people. Milestones and sendoffs are nice, but that’s not why the Cubs should sign Jon Lester to play one more year in blue pinstripes.

I wrote about the mutual interest between the Cubs and Lester in December, after they had paid him the $10 million buyout the team owed him for 2021. At the time, Jed Hoyer said:

“We’ve been very consistent in our communication with his representatives,” Hoyer said. “If things could work out, we’d love to have him back. I think we have to figure some things out first. Obviously, that kind of goes without saying, because otherwise something would be done by now. There’s some things we want to work through first.

“What he’s done for us is amazing, and certainly we’re not ready to close that door.”

So far, that door is still open, as far as I know. Lester hasn’t signed anywhere and the Cubs could use a veteran starter.

It’s true that Lester’s 2020 season doesn’t look very good overall. However, I will remind you of these numbers from his 12 2020 starts:

Lester vs. White Sox: two starts, 7⅓ innings, 18.41 ERA, 2.455 WHIP, five home runs
Lester vs. all other teams: 10 starts, 53⅔ innings, 3.35 ERA, 1.174 WHIP, six home runs

Lester’s a DFA candidate when he faces a team with righthanded power like the Sox were in 2020. But the other 10 starts were pretty much in line with his career numbers.

Now, I could say something silly like “Just don’t start him against the White Sox,” but you know it’s not as simple as that. However, if Lester would be brought back, perhaps David Ross could try to manage his starting schedule so as to avoid teams with lots of righthanded power. That could be doable, I’d think.

Lester’s had his big payday in baseball. He’s made nearly $200 million in his career; at this point I doubt he’s looking for big dollars and instead would like to play where he’s comfortable (Ross as manager, for one thing) and where he’s beloved by fans. And yes, though pitcher wins don’t mean what they used to, I’d love to see Jon get seven more and post that milestone 200th career victory in a Cubs uniform. (He’s also just 103 strikeouts short of 2,500.) And wouldn’t it be great to see a Cubs World Series hero get a great sendoff at Wrigley Field?

$3 million, one year. Who says no?


Jon Lester...

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  • 63%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs for the dollar amount listed in the article
    (500 votes)
  • 20%
    ... should be signed by the Cubs for a different dollar amount
    (161 votes)
  • 14%
    ... should not be signed by the Cubs
    (117 votes)
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