The Chicago Cubs enter this offseason with more flexibility, therefore, they will indeed go after one of the best pitchers on the market, Jon Lester. The hard throwing lefty put up great numbers this past season with both the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics. With Boston, Lester went 10-7, 2.52 ERA, and 143 IP, and with Oakland, 6-4, 2.35 ERA, and 76 2/3 IP. Lester, a free agent, is highly viewed as superb pitcher that can provide a club with a great performance each and every start. Lester pitched nine seasons in Boston and one in Oakland, but he most likely wont return to either one of them next season. The Cubs are viewed as a likely destination. They are currently without an ace, therefore, he would fit right in with a young and talented rotation.
With Lester in mind, the Cubs are considering trading for Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies. The lefty went 9-9, 2.46 ERA, and 204 2/3 innings pitched last season. According to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY Sports, Hamels wants out of Philly and desires to play somewhere else by this winter. I wouldn’t blame Hamels at all, knowing the fact that Philly hasn’t been to the postseason since 2009, the guy simply wants to win. You can’t say it any clearer, he’s getting paid about $24M for the next five years to simply win. Since the downfall of the Phillies for the past few seasons, he’s not going to get to the postseason any time soon.
These two pitchers are looked at as a potential ace for the Cubs in 2015, but Lester is the wiser choice and I’ll tell you why. Jon Lester, currently a free agent, in a sense, will be cheaper for the Cubs to afford. Cole Hamels on the other hand, is not a free agent, therefore, the only way to acquire him is via trade, and he will not be easy to get either. The Phillies are looking for at least three top prospects in return for Hamels, the Cubs can afford to do that, but in my eyes, you don’t want to give away any of the young talent that they currently have. The Cubs have worked years to build this team filled with young talented players, you don’t want to go ahead and trade three away. Lester on the other hand, can easily sign with the club without giving up anyone within the organization.
I don’t see Hamels making his way to Wrigley next season. I believe the Red Sox or Dodgers could be interested in his services, despite Boston declining trade offers sent by Philadelphia.