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Of all the big-name free agents set to hit the market this offseason, Jon Lester is by far the most likely to be signed by the Cubs. In fact, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports claims the Cubs are the favorites to land the coveted lefty in the winter.
There's no question why they're favorites: Everything about it makes sense. Three key reasons exist why the Cubs should and will pursue Lester this offseason.
1. He's dealt with president Theo Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer in the past. Back when this trio was in Boston, it was pretty successful. All other things being equal, Lester might choose the Cubs over the Yankees because of his ties to the front office.
2. They have the money to pull off the move. As evidenced by their pursuit of Phillies lefty Cole Hamels on the waiver wire, the Cubs are willing to pay for front-line pitching right now.
A contract in the neighborhood of four years and $80 million (he turned down somewhere in the neighborhood of four years, $70 million from the Red Sox in spring training, per Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com) would be well worth it for a team that has the cash and needs an established ace.
3. He would make the Cubs contenders in 2015. A lot of Cubs fans were looking toward 2016 as the year the team could first compete for the playoffs. However, with the addition of Lester, the Cubs could be competing in 2015. Since pitchers like Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks have stepped up, the Cubs could just need one or two quality arms to put them over the top.
Here's a look at what the Cubs rotation could look like if Lester is added this offseason:
- LHP Jon Lester
- RHP Jake Arrieta
- RHP Kyle Hendricks
- LHP Travis Wood
- RHP Jacob Turner
Other options in the rotation include Felix Doubront, Tsuyoshi Wada and Zac Rosscup.