Jon Lester was a free agent once before in his career, back in 2014-15, and that winter he signed a six-year/$155.5M deal with the Chicago Cubs, after pitching for nine seasons for the Red Sox who drafted him in the 2nd Round in 2002, and traded him to the A’s before he’d reached free agency in 2014.
He got his six-year deal from the Cubs in early December. This time around the market was significantly slower to develop.
“It was kind of a weird process. Obviously a little bit different than the first time going into free agency,” Lester told reporters after signing a 1-year/$5M with the Nationals this week.
“Going into it I knew it was going to be a little bit slower, and whatnot, but I just didn’t think it would take until almost the end of January for something to kind of come up.”
What came up was a one-year deal that gives the 37-year-old left-hander a change to pitch at the back end of a rotation with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin.
“I’m excited,” Lester said. “I’m happy, I’m glad that we’re here and we’re going to be a part of this organization and looking forward to it, but yeah, just obviously a little different with all the things going on in the world, but it worked out for the best, so we’re excited.”
Go read your links.
Nationals Sign Alex Avila:
Nationals tab veteran Avila for No. 2 catching job - (MASN)
"The Nationals appear to have found their backup catcher, one who has a prior relationship with three-fifths of their rotation."
Nationals and catcher Alex Avila agree to one-year contract - (WaPost)
“But Avila is a skilled game-caller, grades well in framing analytics and is familiar with the Nationals’ pitching staff.”
I spoke with Alex Avila about Max Scherzer toward the end of the 2019 season, for a story about all of Scherzer's catchers and their Scherzer stories. Avila's was a good one: pic.twitter.com/WPofbJgEWw— Jesse Dougherty (@dougherty_jesse) January 28, 2021
Report: Nationals agree to one-year deal with catcher Alex Avila - (NBC Sports Washington)
"His connection with Max Scherzer is noteworthy, as Avila caught the Nationals' ace for five seasons when both were in Detroit."
Other Nationals Stories:
Finnegan on role with Nationals - (MLB.com)
"Kyle Finnegan talks about his role with the Nationals in 2021 and doing his best to contribute to the team."
Aaron Barrett reflects on physical, mental hurdles faced in road back to MLB - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Barrett, a Nationals relief pitcher who broke into the majors as a rookie in 2014, had never experienced anything like it."
Notable about Alex Avila, who turns 34 tomorrow: He caught Max Scherzer extensively in Detroit (107 times) and briefly caught Jon Lester in Chicago (twice) and Patrick Corbin in Arizona (14 times).— Mark Zuckerman (@MarkZuckerman) January 28, 2021
Nationals Fan Poll — Welcome Back Zim! Edition: What’s your favorite Ryan Zimmerman moment? - (Curly W Live)
"From Postseason games to no-hitters to comebacks & walk-offs, Zimmerman has truly been part of every historic moment in our team’s history..."
Inbox: What's next for Kieboom, Max, Robles? - (MLB.com)
"For the second season in a row, the Nationals are giving Carter Kieboom the opportunity to lock in the starting third-base role."
More Jon Lester Stories:
Former Cubs Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber can’t wait to play for Davey Martinez - (NBC Sports Washington)
"Former Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber signed with the Nationals in December and cited Martinez as a huge reason why."
On Lester's durability, pickoff issues and need for good defense - (MASN)
"The best thing Lester has going for him is durability. He made at least 31 starts every season from 2008-19, and he made all 12 of his scheduled starts last season."
“Once Schwarbs kind of got over there, I put a little note to him saying, ‘Hey, man, love to still be your teammate.’” - Jon Lester on signing with the #Nats & joining former #Cubs teammate Kyle Schwarber in D.C. https://t.co/R02u2PiBla— federalbaseball (@federalbaseball) January 28, 2021
Jon Lester finds a home at the back of the Nationals’ rotation - (WaPost)
“At 37 years old, after 2,750⅔ innings over the regular season and playoffs, Jon Lester arrives in Washington with a bag of hardware and his reputation formed.”
Cubs Release Touching Tribute Video to Jon Lester as Nationals’ Deal Becomes Official – (NBC Chicago)
"Lester, who pitched for the Cubs for six seasons and helped the team to a World Series title in 2016, will go down as one of the best free agent acquisitions in team history..."
NL EAST UPDATES:
Bring back Didi? It's the Phils' best option - (MLB.com)
"Gregorius, 30, makes so much sense for the Phillies, especially if they hope to contend in the National League East."
Meet the three pitching prospects Mets got back for Steven Matz - (NY Post)
"Of the three right-handed pitching prospects the Mets acquired Wednesday night from the Toronto Blue Jays for lefty Steven Matz, two already have appeared in the majors."
Inbox: How are OF, bullpen shaping up? - (MLB.com)
"The Hot Stove season has picked up, and so have the questions concerning Miami's outfield and bullpen..."
Braves sign infielder Ehire Adrianza to minor-league deal - (AJC.com)
"The Braves added depth by agreeing to a minor league contract with utility player Ehire Adrianza."