No surprise, but general manager Ben Cherington confirmed that the Red Sox will be in contact with Jon Lester in an attempt to re-sign the free agent after trading him to the A’s on July 31.
Again, we’re going to try to build the best team we can, and that is one of the areas we need to add to, the rotation. We know him well and hope we get a chance to talk to him. I’m sure he’ll talk to others and I’m sure we’ll talk to others. We just have to get into the offseason and see what comes of it.
The relationship is in place that will allow for a conversation, and from there, we’ll see. He’ll have options; we will, too. And we look forward to having a constructive conversation at some point.
Trading away Lester for Yoenis Cespedes and then re-signing Lester as a free agent would be a nifty little series of events for the Red Sox, but the 30-year-old left-hander figures to have his pick of massive long-term contracts.
Lester had a 2.35 ERA in 11 starts for the A’s, finishing the season with a 2.46 ERA and 220/48 K/BB ratio in 220 innings overall. He was drafted by the Red Sox in 2002 and made 241 starts for Boston.
Rickie Weeks had a nice season after being demoted to a part-time role in Milwaukee, but the Brewers have decided to decline his $11.5 million option for 2015.
Weeks has spent his entire career with the Brewers after being the No. 2 overall pick in the 2003 draft, hitting .249 with 148 homers, 126 steals, and a .771 OPS in 1,142 games. He’s been injured a lot and his production has varied wildly, but overall Weeks has been an above-average hitter playing an up-the-middle defensive position.
He won’t get $11.5 million anywhere else for next season, but Weeks does figure to land a regular gig somewhere. Scooter Gennett will remain the Brewers’ primary second baseman after hitting .289 with nine homers and a .754 OPS in 137 games this season as a 24-year-old.
Adam Rubin of ESPN New York passes along a report from Sports Hochi in Japan that says the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks of the Japanese League have offered Daisuke Matsuzaka a four-year contract.
According to the report the deal would be worth about $3.5 million per season, which is well beyond what Matsuzaka could expect to make in American even if he were somehow able to snag a guaranteed one-year contract from some team.
Matsuzaka pitched reasonably well for the Mets after being shifted to the bullpen, but the 34-year-old right-hander has made it clear that he still wants to be a starter and returning to Japan seems like the best opportunity (and biggest payday) to do so.
Matsuzaka left Japan in 2007 to sign a six-year, $52 million contract with the Red Sox and had immediate success, but dating back to 2009 he’s combined to throw 418 innings with a 5.10 ERA.
Milwaukee has exercised its $13 million option on Yovani Gallardo, bringing the right-hander back for 2015.
Gallardo posted an ERA above 4.00 last season for the first time in his career, but bounced back to throw 192 innings with a 3.51 ERA this year at age 28. However, his strikeout rate was a career-low 6.2 per nine innings and he’s shown signs of decline.
Still, for a one-year, $13 million commitment keeping a 29-year-old starter with a 3.69 career ERA is a no-brainer move for the Brewers.
Huston Street’s arrival in a midseason trade from the Padres played a huge role in turning the Angels’ bullpen around and now they’ve exercised his $7 million option for 2015.
Street saved a career-high 41 games this season between the two teams, throwing 59 innings with a 1.37 ERA and 57/14 K/BB ratio. He struggles at times with durability, but Street has a 1.97 ERA during the past three seasons and has converted 94 percent of his save chances during that time.
Next season will be his final year before reaching free agency at age 32.