The Braves appear to be a long shot for free agent left-hander Jon Lester

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The Braves have been mentioned as a potential destination for free agent left-hander Jon Lester, in part because of Atlanta’s proximity to his home in Peachtree City, Georgia. However, that scenario appears increasingly unlikely.

The Braves shed some salary when they dealt Jason Heyward and Jordan Walden to the Cardinals last month and they could shed even more if they trade Justin Upton, but it appears that they are getting priced out of the mix. CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the Cubs have offered $138 million over six years while the Red Sox are willing to go to at least $130 million. Lester met with the Giants today, but it’s not clear where they stand.

Oakland Athletics reverse course, will continue to pay minor leaguers

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Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Oakland Athletics owner John Fisher has reversed course and will continue to pay minor leaguers. Fisher tells Slusser, “I concluded I made a mistake.” He said he is also setting up an assistance fund for furloughed employees.

The A’s decided in late May to stop paying paying minor leaguers as of June 1, which was the earliest date on which any club could do so after an MLB-wide agreement to pay minor leaguers through May 31 expired. In the event, the A’s were the only team to stop paying the $400/week stipends to players before the end of June. Some teams, notable the Royals and Twins, promised to keep the payments up through August 31, which is when the minor league season would’ve ended. The Washington Nationals decided to lop off $100 of the stipends last week but, after a day’s worth of blowback from the media and fans, reversed course themselves.