How far were the Cubs willing to go to sign free agent left-hander Jon Lester?
Team president Theo Epstein told Patrick Mooney of CSNChicago.com: “I was ready to soak myself in deer urine, if necessary.”
That quote is probably better without context, but here it is anyway: Lester is an avid hunter and did a lot of his thinking about various contract offers while hunting (presumably while soaked in deer urine at some point).
As for what the Cubs did use to snag Lester … well, $155 million was obviously the main thing. Beyond that Lester was already familiar with Epstein and several other members of the Cubs’ front office from their time together with the Red Sox.
Here’s more on the sales pitch, via Mooney:
The Cubs brought the Lesters into the presentation room inside the team’s Clark Street office building, showing them a scale model of the renovated stadium and pictures of what the new clubhouse will look like. A video board showed his lifetime batting average (.000) as an icebreaker.
Two representatives from community relations gave a presentation on how Lester could leverage Cubs Charities and make an impact in the community. Lester–who had been diagnosed with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma near the end of his rookie season in 2006–is heavily involved in the Never Quit foundation that helps pediatric cancer patients.
The Cubs unveiled the blueprints for the new family room and outlined all the security measures in place and the personal services offered to players.
Oh, and here’s my favorite part: “The Cubs also highlighted the differences between the Chicago media and the Boston media.”
For my own amusement, I’m going to take that to mean Dan Shaughnessy’s presence in Boston kept Lester from re-signing with the Red Sox.