Jon Lester has decided to pitch the next six years for the Cubs on a $155 million contract. Lester has controlled the pitching market so far, with only a few other deals such as Burnett, Samardzija, and Liriano getting by. Lester is a solid ace for almost any pitching staff, but does he deserve $155 million?
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The reported runners up in the Lester deal were the Giants, who reportedly were out of the running by yesterday afternoon, and the Red Sox who finally just before midnight at the winter meetings were decided against. The teams who missed out should not panic. There are other possibly even better pitchers available either by trade or free agency. After missing out on Lester the Sox may turn their attention to a trade, as well as one or two smaller signings such as Justin Masterson who was extended a one year offer by the Sox yesterday. On the trade market the Sox can offer a few of their many outfielders and possibly prospects for either Cole Hamels who had a 6.6 WAR last year or Johnny Cueto with a 6.4 WAR. Although Lester has history with the Sox that make him a nice fit Cueto and Hamels are better pitchers, and can certainly fill the ace role in their rotation. The Giants are more likely to go for a fix from the free agent market such as Max Scherzer or James Sheilds, but with Lester earning $155 million, Scherzer may be looking for even more with his 6.0 WAR there have been reports that he is looking for a $200 million+ contract.