Media Reactions To Lester Signing

Here is how the media is reacting to the early-morning news that Jon Lester signed with the Cubs:

Jason Stark says it changes everything. “With one thunderous acquisition, the Cubs were no longer that anonymous last-place team with a roster full of Junior Lakes and Brian Schlitters. They were an official baseball powerhouse, making a statement about who they were and where they were going.”

Ken Rosenthal insists this is huge. “This is an earthquake. For the Cubs. For the NL Central. For baseball. Free-agent left-hander Jon Lester’s six-year, $155 million agreementwith the Cubs is that big of a deal, that much of a game-changer, that much of an example of the ground shifting under everyone’s feet.”

Keith Law writes the Cubs are winning the offseason and are one starter away. “For the Cubs to get to that 90-win threshold, they’ll have to add another premium starter — I’ve suggested Brandon McCarthy, whose approach should appeal to the Cubs’ front office and who won’t cost the signing team a draft pick — and hope their young position players perform at or above expectations.”

Tyler Kepner says the Red Sox only have themselves to blame. “The Red Sox bungled their best chance to retain Lester last spring by making him a $70 million offer that turned out to be less than half of his market value. Lester responded with his third All-Star season, going 16-11 with a career-low 2.46 earned run average.”

Buster Olney agrees. “John Henry is the principal owner of the Red Sox, and Larry Lucchino is the president and chief executive officer and most visible member of the club’s leadership. One or both of them should get on a conference call today and steal Cone’s words and simply say: ‘We blew it.’ Because there really is no way to spin this, no silver lining to sit on, no explanation that makes everything look better.”

It’s a new era at Wrigley, Jesse Rogers writes. “More than anything, he represents a new era for the Cubs. Yes, big-ticket, free-agent signings haven’t always worked out, but the message the Cubs are sending to the rest of the baseball world is they mean business now. Lester joins the youngest team in the league and is expected to provide veteran leadership it is sorely lacking. He should excel pitching in the National League for the first time in his career.”

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe laments Lester’s decision. “But the longer-view, visceral reason this sucks? Because Jon Lester is one of Our Guys. Always has been, always will be, even as his Red Sox ties are suddenly in the past tense. He is the rare player who fits all of the aforementioned criteria. He’s the quintessential qualifier.”

Eric Wilbur of the Globe blames the Red Sox for losing Lester. “The next steps are, of course, inevitable. The Red Sox will blame Jon Lester for not re-signing with them, despite hinting a year ago that he might be willing to do so at a discount, and foolishly preach about the need for a market correction in Major League Baseball. Stop it.”

Some Red Sox fans, meanwhile, handled the news with a quiet dignity.

(Marc Tompkin Photo)

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