Jon Lester has been amazing for the Chicago Cubs and Major League Baseball.
The Chicago Cubs announced on Friday that they are not picking up the 2021 club option for Jon Lester. It is the end of an era for one of the most important players in the history of the franchise. Lester had put together a phenomenal career up to that point in 2015 when he debuted with the Cubs. He was a multi-time champion already up to that point with the Boston Red Sox.
The Cubs brought him in at that time which signified that they are done with their rebuild and ready to win. Well, he brought that attitude to the team and the winning followed in short order. In his first year (2015) they made it all the way to the NLCS before winning the World Series the following season. It has been a great run for Lester and the Cubs. He is forever the symbol of the Cubs turning the corner as a franchise.
Lester is now 36 years old as he departs. He didn’t have the best 60 game season with the Cubs in 2020 but a lot of things could have gone into that happening. He went 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA in 12 starts. He had 17 walks and 42 strikeouts in 61.0 innings. His -0.2 WAR shows that it wasn’t a typical season we are used to seeing from him.
He has, however, been everything the Cubs have asked for and more since arriving in 2015. He went 77-44 as a Cub with four complete games and a 3.64 ERA. His .636 winning percentage leads all left-handed pitchers in the history of the franchise. He had 940 strikeouts with the Cubs which made his strikeouts per nine a very nice 8.4.
The postseason with the Cubs has seen Lester be even more successful as he has a 2.44 ERA, .201 opponent batting average, and a 3-3 record. With all of that success numbers-wise, he helped them to a World Series in 2016 which was the organization’s first in 108 years.
Theo Epstein has made some great moves and some not so great moves but the addition of Jon Lester was one of the all-time great moves the team has ever made. Marian Hossa joining the Chicago Blackhawks is probably the greatest free-agent signing in the history of Chicago sports but Jon Lester is right behind him. It has been a great ride and he deserves all of the best wishes going forward. If he gets another chance with another team in the future, Chicago fans will certainly be cheering him on.