MLB Winter Meetings Live: Jon Lester Choosing Between Cubs, Giants?


9:01 p.m.: Not everyone seems to think the Yankees want Jon Lester.

Despite Jerry Crasnick’s report that the Bronx Bombers might be trying to play spoiler, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman said the team is still more interested in lefty Max Scherzer.

No real evidence yanks are in on lester. If they go for big starter, they prefer scherzer.


Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 09, 2014

As for the Red Sox, The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported that they’re still all-in on the Lester front, even if the pitcher isn’t.

GM Ben Cherington says #RedSox haven’t been told they’re out on Lester and they haven’t withdrawn.


Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) December 09, 2014

Melky Cabrera remains a topic on the hot stove, too. The Mariners might have some competition in the Kansas City Royals, though the American League champs don’t seem to want to break the bank.

The Royals are meeting with the agents for Melky Cabrera tonight. KC likes Cabrera, but is still believed to be wary of the pricetag.


Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) December 09, 2014

7:22 p.m.: The MLB winter meetings have turned into the Jon Lester winter meetings.

ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has sources telling him that the New York Yankees aren’t out of the running to land the lefty.

I just had a front office person tell me, “Don’t count out the #yankees with Jon Lester.” Scout hearing the same thing.


Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) December 09, 2014

7:18 p.m.: Could there be a new left-handed starting pitcher on the market?

There were rumors Sunday that the Los Angeles Angels put southpaw C.J. Wilson on the trading block, rumors that CBS Sports’ John Heyman said Monday were drawing interest from some teams.

However, Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times reported that if there have been discussions about Wilson, the Halos weren’t the ones to start them.

#Angels GM Jerry Dipoto. “We have not picked up the phone and offered CJ Wilson around the league.” Called rumors “false.”


Mike DiGiovanna (@MikeDiGiovanna) December 09, 2014

5:26 p.m.: Melky Cabrera seems to be on his way out of Toronto.

It was widely speculated that the outfielder wouldn’t be returning to the Blue Jays in free agency, and CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman is reporting that the Seattle Mariners are likely to land him

mariners talking to melky and appear to be favorite to sign him. cbsprt.co/1s5fUe1


Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 08, 2014

The M’s already made a splash last week when they signed outfielder Nelson Cruz to a four-year, $57 million contract.

4:43 p.m.: FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the race for Jon Lester has come down to two teams, and Red Sox fans aren’t going to be happy.

Sources: Barring late change, Lester choosing between #Cubs, #SFGiants.


Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 08, 2014

However, some of the Boston media weren’t too quick to agree with Rosenthal.

Lester agent Seth Levinson says idea of Red Sox being out and Giants, Cubs currently finalists “absolutely untrue”


Rob Bradford (@bradfo) December 08, 2014

Source: If Lester has said he won’t sign w #RedSox (per @Ken_Rosenthal) it is news to them. They have not been notified.


Michael Silverman (@MikeSilvermanBB) December 08, 2014

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman offered a some balance to the two sides, though, reporting that although the Cubs and Giants “seem like favorites” to land Lester, the Red Sox haven’t been told that they’re out of the picture.

3:19 p.m.: Talk surrounding Justin Masterson is beginning to heat up.

The free-agent pitcher, who was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in 2006, has already met with his first club, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports, in his hometown of Indianapolis on Saturday. Heyman adds the Miami Marlins, the Chicago White Sox and possibly the Chicago Cubs have arranged meetings with Masterson this week.

The 29-year-old went 7-9 with a 5.88 ERA in 28 appearances between the Cleveland Indians and the St. Louis Cardinals this year, but he’s hoping for a bounce-back season in 2015. Masterson, likely to sign a one- or two-year deal, has also drawn the interest of the Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins and “several other teams,” Heyman writes.

2:07 p.m.: The Cardinals aren’t known for making it rain on star free agents, but St. Louis could be making a push for Max Scherzer, CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reports.

According to Heyman, the Cards have “at least considered a pursuit” of the right-hander, who was born and raised in Chesterfield, Mo. and attended the University of Missouri. The team reportedly met with the hometown hero “at some point,” while “a couple Cardinals players or former players have called Scherzer to make a pitch about the team,” Heyman writes.

The Cardinals are sitting the Jon Lester sweepstakes out, but they’ll likely have to battle the teams who lose out on the southpaw to land Scherzer.

2:00 p.m.: What’s one more day, right? WEEI’s Rob Bradford, citing a source, reports that Jon Lester’s decision will come Tuesday.

Source: Lester decision looking like will be tomm.


Rob Bradford (@bradfo) December 08, 2014

1:56 p.m.: The New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants aren’t the only teams interested in obtaining the services of Chase Headley. According to Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, the Houston Astros have also “kicked the tires” on the third baseman.

Besides Jed Lowrie, the Astrros have also kicked the tires on Chase Headley.


Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) December 08, 2014

1:35 p.m.: We might be getting closer to a decision from Jon Lester, but it’s still anyone’s game as to who will land the lefty.

Told the #RedSox are alive in the Lester talks.


Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) December 08, 2014

Sources: Lester talks ongoing, but #SFGiants getting serious consideration.


Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 08, 2014

1:08 p.m.: We’re getting closer to finally hearing a decision from Jon Lester. We mean it this time. We think.

ESPN’s Buster Olney reports Lester is “nearing the finish line,” with a decision expected to come by Tuesday. Once Lester announces what team he’ll be taking his talents to, the rest of the dominoes should fall.

Lester talks nearing the finish line, sources say. Choice will be made no earlier than tonight, no later than tomorrow.


Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 08, 2014

12:35 p.m.: Brandon Moss is the newest member of the Cleveland Indians.

Sources: Brandon Moss deal to the Indians is done.


Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 08, 2014

Indians take a flyer on Moss, coming off hip surgery. A’s get controllable asset in Wendle, who could move fast. @Buster_ESPN had close 1st.


Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) December 08, 2014

The Oakland Athletics receive minor league second baseman Joey Wendle in exchange for Moss.

12:25 p.m.: The New York Yankees aren’t giving up on keeping Chase Headley.

Although the San Francisco Giants are said to be very interested in the third baseman after losing Pablo Sandoval to the Boston Red Sox, the Yanks have “growing hope” they’ll retain Headley. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, New York’s optimism stems from its willingness to give him a four-year offer.

With Yankees willing to go to a fourth year in their offer to Chase Headley, there is growing hope in the organization they will land him.


Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 08, 2014

12:05 p.m.: Brandon Moss could be on the move. ESPN’s Buster Olney reports that talks between the Cleveland Indians and the Oakland Athletics have been “revived,” and the two sides are close to striking a deal.

Sources: Oakland’s talks with the Indians regarding Brandon Moss have been revived, and the two sides are on the verge of a deal.


Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 08, 2014

Can confirm that Indians, A’s nearing a deal to send OF/1B Brandon Moss to Cleveland. More details soon.


Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) December 08, 2014

The Tribe could use the first baseman/outfielder’s power in their lineup, as Moss hit 25 homers last season with the A’s.

11:58 a.m.: Jon Morosi of FOX Sports has the financial details of Jason Hammel’s deal with the Chicago Cubs.

Jason Hammel guaranteed $18 million over 2 years, source confirms @ChrisCotillo report. Deal includes team option with $2MM buyout …


Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 08, 2014

… which Hammel can void. So, the $18M guarantee is effectively a $20M guarantee.


Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) December 08, 2014

Jon Heyman also has the details in a less confusing tweet.

hammel cubs deal is $9M a year for 2 yrs plus $2M buyout on $10M option for $20M guarantee. #cubs


Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 08, 2014

11:55 a.m.: Talks between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres regarding Matt Kemp have taken the Katy Perry route, it appears. Things have been “hot and cold” between the two clubs, FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports.

Sources: #Padres‘ talks with #Dodgers on Kemp “hot and cold.” However, rival exec with interest in Grandal says SD “seems focused on Kemp.”


Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 08, 2014

11:50 a.m.: Jon Lester remains the priority for the Red Sox, with Boston looking at Cole Hamels if a reunion ultimately isn’t possible with the southpaw. But could the Red Sox pull off signing both of them? Sources tell FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal that’s “not out of the question.”

Hamels likely Plan B for #RedSox if they fail to sign Lester. Could they get both? Not out of question, sources say.


Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 08, 2014

11:37 a.m.: The Houston Astros are looking to make a splash at the winter meetings. According to MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart, the Astros are pursuing free-agent shortstop Jed Lowrie, who spent one season with Houston before being dealt to the A’s.

Multiple sources say the Astros have been pursuing SS Jed Lowrie.


Brian McTaggart (@brianmctaggart) December 08, 2014

The free-agent market for shortstops is thin this offseason — especially after Hanley Ramirez signed with the Boston Red Sox — but the former Oakland Athletic would provide consistency and stability to the lowly Astros.

After putting together a solid 2013 campaign, hitting .290/.344/.446 with 75 RBIs and 15 home runs, Lowrie regressed in 2014. He hit .249 with 50 RBIs and 6 homers in 136 games.

11:20 a.m.: The Chicago Cubs locked down a starting pitcher not named Jon Lester.

According to multiple reports, Jason Hammel is indeed returning to the Windy City.

Can confirm reports that Jason Hammel is returning to #Cubs


Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) December 08, 2014

Hammel deal with #Cubs, as reported by others, simply pending a physical.


Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 08, 2014

After being shipped to Oakland during the Fourth of July blockbuster trade that involved Jeff Samardzija, Hammel made 12 starts for the A’s, posting a 4.26 ERA in 68 innings.

10:57 a.m.: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ outfield might be less crowded in the very near future. The San Diego Padres are “looming as the most likely destination” for Matt Kemp, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale is reporting.

The San Diego #Padres looming as the most likely destination for #Dodgers Matt Kemp, offering Yasmany Grandal and one other player to LA


Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 08, 2014

While shipping a superstar player to a division rival would be a bit strange, the Padres need a slugger in their lineup if they want to contend in the National League West, while the move would clear up cap space for the Dodgers in addition to giving them an upgrade at catcher.

10:38 a.m.: While the baseball world anxiously awaits Jon Lester’s decision, the Chicago Cubs are inching closer to a reunion with starting pitcher Jason Hammel. The news was first reported by CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman late Sunday night and later confirmed by CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney on Monday.

The 32-year-old right-hander went 8-5 with a 2.98 ERA for the North Siders before being traded to the Athletics in the blockbuster trade that sent Jeff Samardzija to Oakland.

9:36 a.m.: The Texas Rangers are eyeing a starting pitcher. The Rangers reportedly have their sights set on San Diego Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner, who “remains the top target,” Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News writes.

The 28-year-old TCU product, who is two years from free agency, remains the priority over a rental player such as outfielder Justin Upton who “would eat up about all of the available financial resources the Rangers have this winter,” Grant reports.

8:25 a.m.: Power-hitting Korean shortstop Jung Ho-Kang is drawing interest from multiple teams, CBSSports.com Jon Heyman reports. 

mets, giants, a’s among teams looking at top korean shortstop jung-ho kang. cbsprt.co/1G6UrDS


Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 08, 2014

The slugging Kang hit 354/.457/.733 with 39 home runs and 115 RBIs in 116 games last season with the Nexen Heores. While Kang played shortstop with the Heores — and the Mets could desperately use a shortstop — he can also slot into second base or third base.

7:25 a.m.: This is from Sunday, but according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the feeling is that it will take a seven-year contract to land Jon Lester.

An executive not involved in the Lester bidding predicts he will get seven years: “Book it,” the exec said. Make sense; likely separator.


Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 07, 2014

Lester will be 31 years old when the 2014 season starts, so you could see where teams might balk at giving top dollar to someone who will be 38 at the end of the deal. However, as is usually the case, if that’s what the player wants, someone likely will give it to him.

6:45 a.m.: Sleep is at a premium this week in the baseball world. It’s only 3:49 a.m. on the West Coast, but there’s already a smattering of news here early on a Monday morning.

First, on the Jon Lester front: CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman reported late Sunday night that the San Francisco Giants are “very serious” about trying to sign the left-handed pitcher (Heyman also mentions that they have options if they can’t land him). They’re so serious, in fact, that they reportedly met with one Lester’s agent’s, Seth Levinson, on Sunday night.

Yes the #SFGiants met late Sunday night with Lester”s agent Seth Levinson


Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 08, 2014

The Oakland Athletics are also expected to be busy this week. It sounds like the A’s could be moving closer to trading starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija. The front-runners to land the right-hander, according to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, are the Chicago White Sox.

The Chicago #Whitesox are looming as the #frontrunner to acquire #Athletics ace Jeff Samardzija after the clubs engaged in serious talks


Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) December 08, 2014

That would give the Sox a pretty formidable top of the rotation with Samardzija taking the ball after ace lefty Chris Sale.

6:30 a.m.: The baseball world is convening in San Diego this week in what could be a franchise-altering few days for teams across Major League Baseball.

Baseball’s annual winter meetings kick off in earnest on Monday in southern California, and it’s one of the most eagerly anticipated winter meetings in recent years. That’s because there are so many names being kicked around and so many dominoes that need to fall, which means it could be a crazy few days.

Perhaps the biggest name to be monitored this week is free-agent pitcher Jon Lester. The left-hander has options, and he’s certainly taking his time. He’s thought to be choosing between the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers and Giants. Lester is expected to make his decision at some point during the meetings.

Lester is far from the only player who will be making news in San Diego, though. Be sure to check back with the NESN.com live blog throughout the winter meetings for all of the latest news and rumors.

Thumbnail photo via Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports Images

Filed under: Boston Red Sox, Live Blog, MLB, MLB Hot Stove, NESN Staff, Top Stories

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