Former Boston Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester is a free agent and is about to land a contract worth at least $US150 million even though he turns 31 in January.
According to Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com he is weighing several similar offers that are believed to be worth about $US25 million per year for six years, with one team indicating they may be willing to offer a seventh year which would boost the total value into the $US175 million range.
Despite the age factor, Lester has a bunch of traits that make him a hot commodity.
As a starting pitcher, Lester plays the position teams covet the most as they can never have enough quality starting pitchers if they want to contend.
He is also left-handed, which makes him a rare and even more valuable.
He never gets hurt, having started at least 31 games in each of the last seven seasons.
He is also coming off arguably the best season of his career, posting a 2.46 ERA and a 4.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio (anything over 3.00 is considered very good).
But most importantly, Lester also has the perfect combination of teams competing for his services. According to Rosenthal, Lester has offers from the Chicago Cubs, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, and Boston Red Sox.
Here are last season’s opening day payrolls for those four clubs:
- Dodgers, $US241.1 million (highest in MLB)
- Red Sox, $US154.4 million (5th)
- Giants, $US148.3 million (6th)
- Cubs, $US74.5 million (28th)
And the Cubs certainly have plenty of cash to spend as they have spent the last couple of seasons in rebuilding mode.
That is four high-revenue clubs in big markets. In addition, two of those teams, the Giants and Dodgers, are bitter rivals. If one of those teams lose out on Lester they take the risk that he will land with the other.
In other words, Cha-Ching!
$US150 million is a lot money for a pitcher in his 30s and amazingly it could go even higher.
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