By BILL CHUCK
Lefty ace Jon Lester is one of the hottest commodities on the free-agent market this offseason. The Red Sox and the Cubs seem to be leading the charge but the Braves and the Cardinals and perhaps the Yankees and the Blue Jays are lurking as well.
No team needs Lester more than the Red Sox, who finished last for the second time in three seasons, but no team could change their perception faster than the Cubs if Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer can sign their old friend.
The Blue Jays haven’t been to the postseason since 1993 and now have a very expensive receiver, Russell Martin, to catch Lester. The Braves are using their new stadium and the fact that Lester lives in the neighborhood as an appeal. Then there are the Yankees who who are always comfortable when proposed contracts are in the neighborhood of six years ranging from $130 million to $150 million.
Nine to Know: More or Lester
- Jon Lester has pitched 1596 innings and has a career ERA of 3.58. Tim Lincecum has pitched 1567.1 innings and has a career ERA of 3.59.
- Jon Lester has made 252 starts and has thrown four shutouts. Paul Maholm has made 250 starts and has thrown four shutouts.
- Jon Lester has made 252 starts and has 11 complete games. Brett Myers made 252 starts and had 12 complete games.
- Jon Lester, Chris Carpenter, and Joaquin Andujar all have WHIPs of 1.276.
- From 2012-14, Jon Lester made 98 starts and has a 3.65 ERA, Jeff Samardzija made 94 starts and has a 3.70 ERA, R.A. Dickey made 101 starts and has a 3.54 ERA.
- Since 2006, Jon Lester has had one season with an ERA of under 3.00 (2014: 2.46). Since 2006, Clayton Kershaw has had six seasons with an ERA of under 3.00, Adam Wainwright has had four, Felix Hernandez and Zack Greinke have three each.
- Over the last five seasons, Jon Lester has made 161 starts and has a .244 BAA. Over the last five seasons, Dan Haren has made 161 starts and has a .258 BAA. Over the last five seasons, Max Scherzer has made 161 starts and has a .240 BAA.
- Since 2008, Jon Lester has thrown 1451.2 innings, only Mark Buehrle (1455.2), Cole Hamels (1485.2), James Shields (1570.2), Justin Verlander (1579.0), and Felix Hernandez (1595.0) have thrown more.
- Since 2008, Jon Lester has made 146 Quality Starts (6+ IP, no more 3 ER); Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw have made 148. Since 2008, Jon Lester has made 76 Ultra Quality Starts (7+ IP, no more 2 ER); Felix Hernandez has made 126, Cliff Lee has made 103, and Cole Hamels has made 102.