The 2021 season is fast approaching, which only means the 2021 MLB free agents talk intensifies with every day that passes. One free agent that stands out is the 37-year-old left-handed pitcher, Jon Lester.
After five years with the Chicago Cubs, he is currently looking for a new challenge. He was paid his buyout of $10M after the Cubs declined his $25M option. Although this was obvious after slowly showing some signs of decline, the Cubs have kept him on their radar after losing Yu Darvish to the Padres.
Lester has had a wonderful career, starting with the Red Sox back in 2006, before a shortened 2020 season showed flaws in his game.
There are questions on what Lester does for the 2021 season, so let"s have a look at the three teams who could benefit from signing him up for another year.
2021 MLB Free Agents: Jon Lester Back to the Cubs?
This could be the most obvious one and would make a lot of sense. But would it make the Cubs competitive? And does it show signs of the Cubs regressing?
Although going back to Lester for 2021 shows some signs of regression, he also is a large part of the organization and helped them win a World Series in 2016. He is also seven wins away from 200 with the organization, as well as 103 strikeouts short of 2500.
This Cubs legend deserves recognition and respect. He deserves a send-off that respects the player he once was for the Chicago Cubs. Will that be enough to keep him on for another year? Probably not. But being sporadically used, he could be a player the Cubs need off-the-field to help deal with a loss such as Darvish"s.
From a pitching perspective, he wasn"t all that bad. He finished with an ERA of just 3.35 and a 1.174 WHIP against teams that weren"t the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox lit him up, but that isn"t something to be ashamed of. With bats such as Luis Robert, Eloy Jimenez, and Jose Abreu, there"s bound to be games like the 10-1 demolition of the Cubs.
If he could be used sporadically, against teams that aren"t so right-handed power happy, then Lester could do a solid job for the Cubs.
He also bought a lot of Cubs" fans, a lot of beers to say thank you. That will certainly add to his legendary status.
Lester Goes Back Home
We continue to get sentimental. This could be somewhere that Lester goes to feel at home, back to where it all began.
After being drafted in 2002 by the Red Sox in the 2nd Round, they got eight years of service out of him, proving to be a valuable pick. Although he had a tough 2012 season, the rest of his time at the Red Sox was positive and he was an All-Star twice in that time.
If going back to the Cubs doesn"t draw him in, a reunion with the Boston natives could prove to be an appealing move.
MLB Free Agents: Jon Lester to the Capital?
As recently as today, Lester has been linked to the Washington Nationals. The Nationals need an experienced pitcher to work alongside their coveted Trifecta, thus making Lester an ideal candidate for the role.
With Strasburg, Corbin, and Scherzer relied upon to take the bulk of the appearances in 2021, Lester won"t be used too often but will come in and do a job here-and-there. If he could pick up a few wins in the process, then that would be a job well done.
Taking on the role as a number five starter for the Nats could be perfect for him at this stage, thus making the latest of the MLB Free Agents look like he could be heading to the Capital.
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