Once Lester picks team, rest of desired arms will fall into place

 

Jon Lester might not take the most money.

Free agents frequently say such things, talking about comfort, happiness, etc. But Lester has similar offers from the Cubs, Giants, Dodgers and Red Sox, according to major-league sources. The question, in the end, will boil down to which team he prefers.

Lester’s offers all are in the six-year, $150 million range, sources said. One team — it is not known which one — indicated it would go to the seven-year, $175 million range. But Lester would not necessarily choose that team even at that level, one source said.

Barring a late change, Lester will choose between the Cubs and Giants, sources told FOX Sports on Monday. But no team had been eliminated as of late Monday night. The delay in Lester’s decision is partly attributable to several ownerships needing to sign off on their final bids, and it is not out of the question that the process could stretch into Wednesday, sources said.

Whatever happens — and whenever it happens — the terms of Lester’s deal likely will catapult free-agent right-hander Max Scherzer to an even higher financial level and also elevate the market for free-agent righty James Shields.

Second-tier free agents such as righties Brandon McCarthy, Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano then will draw increased interest, as will trade candidates such as the Phillies’ Cole Hamels, Nationals’ Jordan Zimmermann and Tigers’ Rick Porcello. 

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