Comment by Jon Lester viewed as a positive for Cubs
By GORDON WITTENMYER Staff Reporter August 13, 2014 10:33PM
Updated: August 13, 2014 11:31PM
Likely Cubs free-agent target Jon Lester’s assertion in recent days that he won’t necessarily look for the most money on the market as one of the top available pitchers next winter seems to put the Cubs and Red Sox in the front-runner positions more than two months out.
Lester, who told media this week his comfort level is more important, was drafted and developed by Cubs’ regime, when several of the top execs were in Boston. The Red Sox traded him to the Athletics last month and are said to be first in line to try to sign him back as a free agent.
When asked about specifically pursuing a frontline starter this winter with some of the anticipated payroll flexibility or in trade, Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer stayed away from specifics.
“Pitching in general is going to be something we’re aggressive on,” he said. “We know we have to add pitching. That’s going to be our main area of focus for the offseason and probably several offseasons.”
The Cubs might not be done dealing even though many teams are done putting players through waivers, and the Cubs already have gone at least 1-for-2 in waiver-claim trades this month (acquiring pitcher Jacob Turner from the Marlins; not acquiring Cole Hamels from the Phillies).
“There could be some action at the end of the month as [remaining] teams decide to finally put their guys through,” Hoyer said.
Delayed fall call
Hoyer confirmed that the Class AAA postseason could delay September call-ups such as outfielder Jorge Soler if the division-leading Iowa Cubs make the Pacific Coast League playoffs.
“They’ve worked hard down there. We don’t want to raid them and leave them with nothing if they do make the playoffs,” he said. “If the big-league club is in the pennant race, that’s your only consideration. But it’s a little different in this situation.”
The Cubs aren’t especially close to finalizing their list of players they plan to call up at this point.
“Some will depend on how much pitching we need,” he said. “Some will depend on the 40-man roster situation.”
Starlin Castro said he felt fine the day after aggravating the knee he twisted in Monday’s game. He then drove in a run during the Cubs’ two-run first with a single up the middle.
◆ Jed Hoyer said Felix Doubront, the struggling lefty acquired from the Red Sox, has at least one more minor-league rehab start after throwing 80 pitches in four-plus innings Tuesday. The GM compared him to Jake Arrieta, who used several minor-league starts to rediscover his form after being acquired last year.