Jon Lester made his decision, and he's moving to the National League, to pitch in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field.
Theo Epstein offered Lester a 6-year, $155 million deal, and he took it. It also includes a vesting option for a seventh year.
That was something the Red Sox were not going to match. Nor should they. The Cubs have money to spend, and are looking for an ace. They haven't had a winning year since 2009, and have a lot of talent in their system.
It will be interesting to hear Lester's press conference when the Cubs introduce him, and why he's going to Chicago. My friend Cormac Eklof points out today that he better not use the word "contend" and I agree with him. The Cubs are a long way from that. They are pointed in the right direction, but they are two years off at least from a playoff berth.
The Red Sox best offer to him was 6 years at 135 million. I don't blame him for taking the best offer, as he, like all other baseball players, are businessmen. But you rarely hear any admit to the real reason they jump to a certain club: money. It's always "I want to play for a contender" or "I've always dreamed of playing for this team."
Face facts: the Red Sox ultimately blew it with Lester. Their original offer of 4 years, $70 million last spring wasn't even close to getting a deal done. (I refuse to say "insulting", as offering ANYONE a deal of nearly $18 million a year to play baseball is never "insulting," no matter what idiot sportswriter says that.)
Jon Lester has always been an honorable man, someone worth rooting for. I wish him luck in Chicago. But now it's time for the Red Sox to look ahead to 2015.
Bring on Plan B.