Cardinals reportedly joining pursuit of Jon Lester

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Might the Cardinals be a darkhorse in the Jon Lester sweepstakes? Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM says they are “in pursuit,” citing a club source.

St. Louis just unloaded some of its rotation depth on Monday afternoon, acquiring outfielder Jason Heyward and relief pitcher Jordan Walden from the Braves for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. That still leaves the Cardinals with six legitimate starters for 2015 between Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Carlos Martinez, and Marco Gonzales, but Wainwright needed elbow surgery in late October and Wacha battled shoulder issues for much of the 2014 season. So maybe there’s something to this.

Martinez and Gonzales could both begin 2015 in relief roles if Lester is brought in.

Lester is also drawing serious interest from the Red Sox, Cubs, and Braves. The 30-year-old southpaw had a 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 220/48 K/BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings this season between Boston and Oakland.

Rockies, Trevor Story agree on two-year, $27.5 million contract

Trevor Story
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ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the Rockies and shortstop Trevor Story have come to terms on a two-year, $27.5 million deal, buying out his two remaining years of arbitration eligibility.

Story, 27, and the Rockies did not agree on a salary before the deadline earlier this month. Story filed for $11.5 million while the team countered at $10.75 million. The average annual value of this deal — $13.75 million — puts him a little bit ahead this year and likely a little bit behind next year.

This past season in Colorado, Story hit .294/.363/.554 with 35 home runs, 85 RBI, 111 runs scored, and 23 stolen bases over 656 trips to the plate. He also continued to rank among the game’s best defensive shortstops. Per FanGraphs, Story’s 10.9 Wins Above Replacement over the last two seasons is fifth-best among shortstops (min. 1,000 PA) behind Alex Bregman, Francisco Lindor, Xander Bogaerts, and Marcus Semien.

With third baseman Nolan Arenado likely on his way out via trade, one wonders if the same fate awaits Story at some point over the next two seasons.