After nine years, 110 wins and two world championships with the Red Sox, Jon Lester was traded to Oakland prior to Thursday’s trade deadline. On Sunday, he took out a full-page ad in the Boston Globe to thank Red Sox Nation for the memories.
It doesn’t really seem like the action of a pitcher who is set to re-sign with a club in free agency, though Lester was quoted in the Globe, saying he hasn’t ruled that out.
“Anything is possible,” Lester stated. “Obviously that’s still my family. I still got a lot of guys over there that I consider my family. I think when it comes down to it, if they [Red Sox front office] are competitive and we feel like it’s right, then absolutely, the relationship could continue.”
Lester notched a win in his A’s debut Saturday after allowing three runs in 6 2/3 innings against the Royals.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports that there is a “one million percent” chance Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman will opt out once the season ends.
Just going by the math this makes perfect sense, of course.
Chapman signed a five-year, $86 million deal with the Yankees before the 2017 season. Pursuant to the terms of the deal he’ll make $15 million a year in 2020 and 2021 (he was given an $11 million signing bonus that was finished being paid out last year). This past season the qualifying offer was $17.9 million. Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs just signed a deal that will pay him $16 million in 2020, 2021, and 2022 (he’s making a prorated $16 million this year). Other top closer salaries at the moment include Kenley Jansen ($19,333,334); and Wade Davis ($18 million).
It’s fair to say that Chapman fits into that group and, I think it’s safe to say, more teams would take him than those guys if they were all freely available. As such, Chapman opting out to get more money makes all kinds of sense. Heck, opting out, getting slapped with a qualifying offer, accepting it and then hitting the market unencumbered after the 2020 season would stand him in better financial stead than if he didn’t opt-out in the first place.
The question is whether the Yankees will let it get that far or whether they’ll approach him to renegotiate the final couple of years on the deal or to add some years onto the back of it. If they’re smart they will.