1:54 AM EST, Sat February 28, 2015

Cubs Notes: Will Ross catch Lester?

MESA, Ariz. -- After hearing Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon talk after workouts on Friday, it sounds like he’s indeed leaning toward having newcomer David Ross behind the plate whenever ace lefty Jon Lester is on the mound, though the final decision hasn’t been made yet. Maddon watched Ross catch a batting practice session earlier in the day and saw why the two work so well together. Their communication was in mid-season form. “On the surface it looks like you want David to catch Jon,” Maddon said.

Lester takes mound, cameras start clicking

MESA, Ariz. -- Most of the time, live batting practice sessions in spring training aren’t as exciting as you might think. It’s the first time batters and pitchers are facing each other since last season, so sometimes there’s little contact or action. There are no fielders and no one is “running it out.” The vibe isn’t exactly playoff-like. But that was pre-Jon Lester. The Chicago Cubs' new $155 million man was treated like a rock star facing his new teammates in his first session on the mound on a sunny Friday at Cubs camp.

Lester an ace on the mound and golf course

MESA, Ariz. -- Chicago Cubs President Theo Epstein may have put it best in talking about the new ace of his pitching staff. “It’s good to be Jon Lester,” Epstein said with a smile on the first day of spring training on Thursday. It is indeed. Lester signed a six-year, $155 million deal with Cubs this past winter, showed up early to spring training to get acclimated and then promptly nailed a hole-in-one at a local golf course before ever throwing a pitch for his new team.

Spring training preview: Pitching

On Day 3 of spring previews, we take a look at what the Chicago Cubs have on the mound this year. Most of the bullpen is returning as it performed well as a group last year while the starting staff has a new ace in Jon Lester. Holdovers: Starters: Jake Arrieta, Kyle Hendricks, Travis Wood, Edwin Jackson, Tsuyoshi Wada, Dallas Beeler, Eric Jokisch, Jacob Turner. Relievers: Felix Doubront, Justin Grimm, Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop, Neil Ramirez, Zac Rosscup, Brian Schlitter, Blake Parker Newcomers: Jon Lester, Jason Hammel (again), Jason Motte, Drake Britton, Jospeh Oritz, Daniel Bard...
Viva El Birdos Feb 12, 2015

James Shields, Adam Wainwright, and the value of workhorse innings-eaters in their mid-30s

Early in the offseason, there were three big-name starters on the free-agent market. While the conventional wisdom at the outset of the Hot Stove was that each would like sign a six-figure contract, this isn't to say that all three hurlers were in the same salary echelon. American League Cy Young winner and strikeout machine Max Scherzer was always on a Boarsian level unto himself. Lefty Jon Lester was a worthy target in part because his price would be less than Scherzer's (even if there's a question of how much cheaper—if at all, due to the time value of money—the Cubs' contract with...
McCovey Chronicles Feb 11, 2015

Giants still scouting Hector Olivera heavily

You thought the offseason of second-place finishes and unconsummated rumors was over? No. There is another. It's easy to be cynical after the Aoki 'n' Friends offseason that started with YASMANY TOMAS and segued into JON LESTER. But there's a rumor out there, it makes a modicum of sense, it's the middle of February, so by gum, here it is. Hector Olivera is a Cuban free agent who can play second or third, and the Giants are still heavily involved. Hundreds of scouts here in the DR at Hector Olivera's showcase game. Dodgers, Giants, A's, Padres among those with notable presence. — Ben...
Padres Public Feb 10, 2015

Padres Sign James Shields, Put the Future on Hold

James Shields was arguably the second best starting pitcher available in this free agent class, clearly behind only Max Scherzer. Conventional wisdom says Jon Lester, who signed with the Chicago Cubs earlier this offseason, is also better than Shields, but the numbers paint a different picture. Consider the three-year average for each pitcher: Player Innings ERA ERA+ K/BB Ratio Jon Lester 213 3.65 111 3.08 James Shields 228 3.29 121 3.52 Now, there are some very real pluses for Lester that aren’t factored in above. First, he’s been better for his career than Shields. The last...
River Ave. Blues Feb 10, 2015

Scouting the Trade Market: Last Minute Rotation Targets

Now that James Shields has landed in San Diego, the top free agent starters are all off the board and the only guys left unsigned are hangers-on. Roberto Hernandez, Chris Young, Kevin Correia, guys like that. The Yankees passed on Shields, Max Scherzer, and Jon Lester because they didn’t want to hand out another big [...] Scouting the Trade Market: Last Minute Rotation Targets is a post from: River Avenue Blues The post Scouting the Trade Market: Last Minute Rotation Targets appeared first on River Avenue Blues.
Chicago Tribune Feb 7, 2015

Jon Lester and Jason Hammel give Cubs' rotation huge shot in arm

Whether the Cubs or White Sox won the offseason is really a determination that should be made as their moves play out on the field, but there's little doubt the teams at least won the attention of the baseball world.

Jon Lester and Jason Hammel give Cubs' rotation huge shot in arm

Whether the Cubs or White Sox won the offseason is really a determination that should be made as their moves play out on the field, but there's little doubt the teams at least won the attention of the baseball world.
Viva El Birdos Feb 5, 2015

James Shields is not a safe bet

As time goes on and James Shields remains unsigned, just like with Jon Lester and Max Scherzer, speculation seems to come back to the Cardinals. Even if Shields' price does come down, aging starting pitchers are not a safe bet for production. Early February has arrived and James Shields remains unsigned. After rumors surrounding Jon Lester and Max Scherzer and the Cardinals were kept alive up until they received contracts the Cardinals likely never had plans to approach, the same is happening with Shields. I did not think the Cardinals should enter the fray with Lester and Scherzer and the...

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