About that so-called final start at Wrigley Field for Jon Lester…
Two days after Cubs manager David Ross said he hoped his veteran pitcher and close friend would return next season, general manager Jed Hoyer said he expects the front office to talk to Lester about it this winter.
“That’s certainly not something that’s front of mind right now as we play out the rest of the season,” Hoyer said. “We’re certainly not closing the door on anything, and I’m sure we’ll have discussions at some point this winter. But there’s no reason to talk about it [now].”
Lester acknowledged being affected by emotions pitching Wednesday after what he suggested was his final home start at Wrigley Field in six seasons as a Cub.
“I didn’t think six years would go this fast,” he said that night.
The Cubs hold a $25 million contract option for 2021 but almost certainly will exercise the $10 million buyout and make Lester, 36, a free agent.
A short-term, modest-guarantee deal at that point could work for both sides.
“To be honest, I hadn’t thought about the potential that it was his last start at Wrigley,” Hoyer said. “It’s been such an incredible contract, and he’s been such an amazing contributor for us and a leader and teammate. He’s been fantastic. This is exactly what we wanted when we signed him. He’s given us everything we hoped for.”
Lester earned two of his five All-Star selections with the Cubs, finished second in 2016 Cy Young voting and led a turnaround from last place in 2014 to six consecutive winning seasons that included — with a few more wins this year — five playoff seasons and one of the most celebrated championships in sports history,
“I look forward to him making a lot more starts and throwing a lot more pitches for us,” Hoyer said, “and then we’ll talk about next season when it’s appropriate.”