(670 The Score) While the Cubs have kept open the possibility of bringing back veteran left-hander Jon Lester this offseason, it appears that small chance won’t pan out.
Lester, 37, is in discussions with the Nationals in free agency, Jon Greenberg and Ken Rosenthal of the Athletic reported Monday evening. There are plenty of familiar faces in Washington, which is managed by former Cubs bench coach Davey Martinez. The Nationals also recently signed former Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber to a one-year deal, and their pitching coach is Jim Hickey, who held that same role for Chicago in 2018.
Lester went 77-44 with a 3.64 ERA in 171 starts over six seasons with the Cubs. He was co-MVP of the 2016 National League Championship Series, going 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA as Chicago earned its first pennant since 1945.
Lester struggled in 2020, going 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA in 12 starts in the shortened 60-game regular season. His influence on the organization extended far beyond just his on-field production in his Chicago tenure.
"Whether he leaves or stays, this is an appropriate time just to acknowledge the profound impact he had on our organization," former Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said back in October.
"It's rare when somebody joins an organization with some clear goals in mind -- to win a World Series, to change a culture, to show up in October just about every year and pitch really well in big games, to be a great teammate, to be somebody our organization can be proud of, to make an impact on his teammates and community. He accomplished all those goals in such an honorable manner."