Cubs agree to sign Jon Lester to 6-year, $155M deal

SAN DIEGO -- The Cubs have agreed to sign left-handed starting pitcher Jon Lester to a six-year, $155 million deal, reports Jon Heyman. There's a vesting option for a seventh year and an additional $15 million.

The Lester courtship reportedly included at least five teams, with the Cubs, Giants and Red Sox seemingly being the most serious suitors. The Dodgers were involved, though the extent isn't known and the Braves met with him. In the end, Lester narrowed the field to just the Cubs and Red Sox as of earlier Tuesday evening.

The Red Sox also offered six years, though only $135 million, per Heyman. The Giants offered six years and $150 million, but were reportedly told personally by Lester himself that they were out of the running before they could give their final offer.

Lester now obviously sits atop the Cubs rotation, in front of Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, newly-signed Jason Hammel and a bevy of No. 5 types.

Lester, 30, was 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA (155 ERA+), 1.10 WHIP and 220 strikeouts in 219 2/3 innings for the Red Sox and Athletics last season. He finished fourth in Cy Young voting for the second time in his career. The 6-foot-4 three-time All-Star has worked at least 190 innings in each of the past seven seasons, winning at least 15 games six of those seasons.

The familiarity with the two main suitors was a big storyline here. Lester had played all but a few months of his big-league career with the Red Sox, winning two World Series rings and serving as the ace of the 2013 champs. He was developed in Boston under Cubs' bosses Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod, though.

Another aspect that may have mattered: Lester was lowballed by the Red Sox on an extension offer this past season when he reportedly wanted to stay with Boston. He was then dealt prior to the trade deadline to Oakland. If either of these things had an impact, we don't yet know.

Regardless, the Cubs now have a legitimate ace to front their staff and support their enviable stash of power-hitting, young position players.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered every World Series since 2010. The former Indiana University baseball player now lives on the... Full Bio

Our Latest Stories