According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Atlanta Braves decided not to extend an offer to free-agent left-handed starter Jon Lester, while they met with him in Atlanta, Georgia.
As O’Brien reported, the Braves did not feel that they could make an offer that was competitive enough to sign the 30-year-old left-hander. The price tag has skyrocketed up and the Braves don’t want to go anywhere near as high as the other teams in the bidding.
Bidding for Lester has already reached over $20 million annually, as the Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and San Francisco Giants are currently the front-runners to land his services.
Braves’ team president John Hart met with Jon Lester in Atlanta, along with other team officials from the Braves, on November 8th. Lester also has an offseason home less than an hour away from the current stadium and in the Atlanta-area. Hart said that he came away impressed by Lester, but didn’t think he could anywhere in negotiations with his price tag.
Lester went a combined 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA between the Oakland Athletics and Red Sox, pitching in 219.2 innings over 32 starts during the 2014 season. He had a career-best 159 ERA+ and career-low 1.070 WHIP and tied a career-low that he set back in his rookie season in Boston in 2006, by allowing only seven home runs all season.