Jon Lester option declined by Cubs, lefty becomes free agent

Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
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CHICAGO — Jon Lester’s $25 million mutual option for 2021 was declined Friday by the Chicago Cubs, completing a $155 million, six-year contract and allowing the 36-year-old left-hander to become a free agent.

Lester is owed a $10 million buyout: $2 million on each Dec. 31 from 2022 through 2026.

Lester was 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA in 12 starts this year with 42 strikeouts and 17 walks. He earned a prorated $5,555,556 from his scheduled $15 million salary.

He was 77-44 with a 3.64 ERA in 171 starts over six seasons with the Cubs and was 3-3 with a 2.44 ERA and .201 opponents’ batting average in the postseason.

Chicago also claimed infielder Max Schrock off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals and assigned left-hander Rex Brothers outright to Triple-A Iowa.

The 26-year-old Schrock hit .275 for Triple-A Memphis in 2019 with 20 doubles, two homers, 31 RBs and 12 steals, then batted .176 (3 for 17) this year for the Cardinals with a home run in 11 games.

Brothers was 0-0 with an 8.10 ERA in three relief appearances for the Cubs.

Gallegos agrees to 2-year, $11M contract with Cardinals

Atlanta Braves v St. Louis Cardinals
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ST. LOUIS – Reliever Giovanny Gallegos and the St. Louis Cardinals agreed to a two-year, $11 million contract, a deal that includes a club option for 2025 and escalators that could make it worth $20.5 million over three seasons.

The 31-year-old right-hander is 3-5 with a 2.91 ERA and 14 saves in 20 chances this season. He has 72 strikeouts and 15 walks in 58 2/3 innings.

“I feel so happy,” Gallegos said before the Cardinals played the Pirates in Pittsburgh. “I don’t have the word for exactly how I’m feeling.”

He was obtained from the Yankees in July 2018 along with left-hander Chasen Shreve in the trade that sent first baseman Luke Voit to New York. Gallegos is 14-15 with a 3.02 ERA and 34 saves in six major league seasons.

Gallegos gets a $500,000 signing bonus and salaries of $4.5 million next year and $5.5 million in 2024. St. Louis has a $6.5 million team option for 2025 with a $500,000 buyout.

His 2025 option price can increase by up to $3.5 million for games finished in 2024: $500,000 each for 20-25 and 26-30 and 31-35, and $1 million apiece for 36-40 and 41 or more.

He would get $250,000 for winning the Rivera/Hoffman reliever of the year award, $50,000 for All-Star selection and World Series MVP and $25,000 for League Championship Series MVP.

Gallegos has a $2.41 million salary this year.

He was eligible for salary arbitration and is potentially eligible for free agency after the 2024 season.