Joe Maddon

Signed: Lester Goes To The Cubs

lesterbye

Jon Lester says good-bye to Boston.

 

All along the thought here was that Jon Lester would return to the Boston Red Sox, the team he played for eight-plus seasons until a 2014 deadline deal to the Oakland A’s. But the free agent lefty instead opted for a reported six-year, $155MM deal with the Chicago Cubs.

The deal, which was agreed upon late Tuesday night, includes a vesting option for a seventh season that would bring the total worth of the deal to $170MM. According to ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Estes, the Red Sox top offer was six years for $135MM with no vesting option included.

Lester, who doesn’t turn 31 until January, was 16-11, 2.46 in 32 starts (21 with Boston) between the Red Sox and A’s last season. The pending free agent was dealt with outfielder Jonny Gomes to the A’s on July 31 for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and a draft slot. Cespedes has been the subject of trade rumors, which now may pick up with the increased need for a front of the rotation starting pitcher.

The Red Sox reportedly made a one-year offer to bring back another former pitcher, Justin Masterson, but the righty struggled last year with Cleveland and St. Louis. You can expect renewed talks with the Philadelphia Phillies for Cole Hamels.

New Cubs manager Joe Maddon was more than happy to have an old AL East nemesis on his team.

“It’s not often you get to win the lottery,” he said. “We won the baseball lottery so far this year, but now it’s up to us to put it into effect. It’s all theory right now. We’ve got to make it real, but you need pieces like this to make it real.”

“He’s been [to the World Series] before. He understands what it feels like. I want to believe that he could foresee the same thing happening here,” Maddon said.

“Yeah. It definitely sends that message about how [Cubs president Theo Epstein] and the group feels about this particular group, but understand we have a lot of young players that have to grow up, and we have to do a good job of nurturing that and making it happen,” Maddon said. “It’s possible, but having Jon there definitely adds to the flavor and the believability.”1

Baseball free agency…expect the unexpected.

1 – espn.com

Breaking News: Maddon Steps Down As Rays’ Manager

maddon

Joe Maddon is looking for a new job.

by D4Assignment Staff

As reported by ESPN’s Buster Olney, Joe Maddon has decided to exercise an opt-out clause in his contract and is no longer the manager of the Tampa Rays. With the Minnesota Twins firing of manager Ron Gardenhire, Maddon was the second longest tenured manager in the Major league’s with nine years at the helm in Tampa. Only the Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Scioscia (15 seasons), for whom Maddon served as bench coach prior to his hiring in Tampa, has been managed longer.

Speculation began last week when Rays’ GM Andrew Friedman left to take a new position as President of Baseball Operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers. At that time, Maddon told reporters he had no intention of going anywhere.

“I’m a Ray , I’ve said it all along, I want to continue to be one,” Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. “‘I still believe … it’s the best place in all of baseball to work but I also stand by fact that ballpark needs to be improved.”

Maddon said there “no rush” to get an extension done as he wants to give the revised administration time to get comfortable. “I don’t really look to go anywhere else,” Maddon said. 1

Though no reason was given for the change of heart, Maddon’s contract was set to expire after the 2015 season and one would think he would not return next season without an extension. Owner Stu Sternberg told the press that the two sides had been working on an extension prior to Maddon’s decision to leave.

“We tried diligently and aggressively to sign Joe to a third contract extension prior to his decision,” Rays owner Stuart Sternberg said in a statement Friday. “As of yesterday afternoon, Joe enabled himself to explore opportunities throughout Major League Baseball. He will not be managing the Rays in 2015.”

It will be interesting to hear the reaction of Evan Longoria, who has played his entire career under Maddon and is signed through the 2023 season. Dave Martinez, Maddon’s bench coach since 2007, is the early favorite to replace his mentor.

1 – CBSsports.com

2 – ESPN.com

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