The off season rumors have not slowed down surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays. The signing of Russell Martin certainly did nothing to subside this. In fact, it may have sent the message that there is more to come. We have also heard that if the rumor is not coming from a Canadian “news” source, you can’t really put much stock in it.
In that vein, something that came up in Sportsnet’s Prime Time Sports with Bob McCown is worth listening to. That is if you are hanging on every rumor and are dreaming of big impact moves. But, we must remember that it is still just dreaming at this point.
McCown points out that Martin’s contract is designed to land a big fish. The Martin contract is HUGE; the biggest in Anthopoulos’ tenure. But, the club will pay just $7M next season. That creates lots of room for more money to be spent. McCown thinks that that fish they’ll spend on is Jon Lester. Now, we’ve already explored the possibility of Jon Lester joining the Blue Jays.
But, at the 12:15 mark of his spot, McCown drops the bomb. He is “led to believe that the Blue Jays’ serious interest is in Jon Lester”. Bob got me excited. My ears perked up. But, I would really love to know how he is led to believe this. Who is leading him to believe this?
But, McCown wasn’t done there. See, most of us would hear the above and say, “That’s a nice rumor, but he’ll look for top dollar and more than 5 years, which the Blue Jays are sticking to like white on rice. So, we can dismiss it after the initial giddy reaction. But, McCown won’t let us dismiss it so easily. “They may even break with the rule; the 5 Year Rule.” Say what?! We’ve heard that for the right player, AA could be convinced to go beyond his comfort zone. McCown has already said that money is not going to be an object this season. So, the Blue Jays can offer top dollar, but what would have taken them out of the running for every free agent in the past, may not be in play for Jon Lester.
And, why not? I have said many times that Jon Lester is the kind of stud the Blue Jays would be lucky to have. Since 2008, Lester has made at least 30 starts every year! He is 116-67 for his career with a 3.58 ERA with 8.2 K/9. Anyone who has been paying attention knows the horse that is Lester. Is he the guy worth going “all in” on?
What would “all in” look like for the Blue Jays going after Jon Lester? Well, McCown says, “I’m told they’re talking 7 years” He goes on to guess a dollar amount of $140-$150M. Again, I would LOVE to know where he is getting his info before I get too excited. But, man do I want to get excited about this. What if it is all smoke, though? McCown admits that he doesn’t know if Lester’s interest is as strong or if the Blue Jays are just being used as leverage. But, he does know that “The Blue Jays haven’t said “No” at this point”.
McCown points out that when free agents make a decision, they are usually weighing similar options from a few teams. So, they also have to weigh other options, options like to whom they are throwing. He suggests that Russell Martin may be a pull for free agents. Another Canadian news source, Brendan Kennedy, tells us that Alex Anthopoulos has said there have been free agents CONTACTING HIM now that Russell Martin is in the fold.
So, while this is all still the talk of rumors and “feelings” and certainly is not actual fact, there seems to be an air of realism to it. This is all coming from Canadian sources, so there’s that. It all seems to make sense. But, until it actually happens and Jon Lester, or any other so called ‘big fish’, signs on the dotted line, we should still not go out and buy new jerseys just yet.
But, it does make for an interesting and exciting time of year, doesn’t it?