ESPN Los Angeles has also confirmed that the Dodgers are involved in the bidding for Lester. Jon Heyman says the same thing at CBS Sports. Both say that the original reports by WEEI radio in Boston were likely valid … so it appears we know the identity of the mystery team!UPDATE: December 3, 2014 9:55 pm PT (so I guess it is the 4th on the East Coast) High Probability – The Los Angeles Dodgers are the “mystery” team!
A source has told me that the Dodgers are in fact the mystery team. They have dropped a major bomb into the middle of this Lester mess to make it even crazier. Sources with WEEI have supposedly confirmed that the Dodgers want Lester.
It does not mean that Lester will choose the Dodgers since he has insisted that he wants comfort over money. Still the Dodgers have upped the stakes BIG TIME if the information I have recieved and WEEI’s sources are correct.Original Text: December 3, 2014 9:26 pm PT
Unfortunately, I can’t answer that question. What I can do it sort out the conflicting reports into something that makes sense.
Everyone is already aware that the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants are publicly vying for Jon Lester‘s affections but recently there have been rumors of a fourth “mystery” team stepping into the picture at the last minute.
Unfortunately no one can agree on even who that team is, if a fourth team does in fact have interest in Lester. Lester already met with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves but the Cardials rumor is unconfirmed and the Braves offer reportedly came up short.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman has mentioned the Kansas City Royals and the Toronto Blue Jays as possibilities along with the Cardinals.
SB Nation’s blog Pinstripe Alley has reported that there was a rumor on Twitter that the New York Yankees have jumped in with a huge offer but the writer of the blog admits that the original source of the rumor is not a known sports reporter or inside source. He does however have a radio show in Chicago.
Yankees in on Lester with a late and large offer…
— Matt Abbatacola (@MattAbbatacola) December 3, 2014
Most recently MLBTradeRumors reported that the fourth team could be the Los Angeles Dodgers. MLBTR says that Rob Bradford and Alex Speier of Boston’s WEEI.com report that the mystery team is the Dodgers.
To top that off that report is also running as the top story tonight on Dodgers.com. Even still, on the Dodgers own website reporter Ian Browne calls the situation “fluid and hard to predict.” However it’s hard not to say that the mystery team is not the Dodgers.
Each of the aforementioned teams makes sense in their own way but the Dodgers jumping in makes a ton of sense. If the Giants were the ones to win the Lester sweepstakes then they would have both Lester and Madison Bumgarner, who would be as good or better than the tandem of Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke.
The Dodgers may go after Lester just to thwart the Giants. That would make a lot of sense. So would the Yankees. They could go all in just to thwart the Red Sox, not to mention the fact that they could use some reliable starting pitching.
Both the Yankees and the Dodgers would have to make an offer Lester couldn’t refuse. Part of Lester’s deal is that he has to like the location he is going to. He’s about comfort over money yet money is still playing a role as the Braves, who play very close to Lester’s family home, couldn’t offer enough to convince the southpaw to well, move down south.
The Red Sox have reportedly offered $130 million for six and the Cubs have beaten that with an offer of $138 million. No word on the Giants offer has been made public yet.
Lester has no ties to California or New York and has spent all but half a season in Boston so there is a chance the Red Sox could win out.
The Cubs, however, have general manager Theo Epstein with whom Lester is said to have a close relationship with. Epstein was general manager for the Red Sox when they broke the “Curse of the Bambino” and won the 2004 World Series.
The Yanks or Dodgers would have to offer serious money to win this one but it would be pretty amazing if they did.
That said neither team might NOT end up being the “mystery” team but my guess is the Dodgers. An offer from them could throw the Giants out of the running as well as put another one of baseball’s best pitchers on their team.
With Kershaw, Greinke and Lester the Dodgers would be a huge and virtually unstoppable force, that is if Kershaw can perform the way he does during the regular season in the playoffs. Add Hyun-Jin Ryu and Dan Haren as number four and five starters and that’s quite a rotation.
It could be the Cardinals or we could all end up shocked and surprised when another team comes out of nowhere. But most sources are pointing towards Los Angeles or New York as the newest possible destinations for Lester.
Lester is said to be hoping to make a decision on where he will play before MLB’s annual winter meetings that begin Monday in San Diego.