Chicago Cubs: Adding Jake Arrieta over Jon Lester is ridiculous
There hasn’t been a team to make weirder decisions over the course of the 2020-21 offseason than the Chicago Cubs. First, they were rebuilding by shedding a lot of money off the books. They let Kyle Schwarber and Jon Lester go in addition to trading Yu Darvish. There were reports that they came very close to non-tendering Kris Bryant who still can be one of the best players in baseball. They have had “losses of biblical proportion” according to their owner, right? Wrong, apparently.
Over the past few weeks, they have sort of taken a step back from those sentiments and made moves to try and win. Well, winning would have been a lot easier if they had Darvis, Lester, and Schwarber (you would think). Some of these philosophical changes have made a lot of people question them.
Well, the weirdness really started to become noticed last week when they signed Joc Pederson. Pederson is a decent baseball player but he is similar to Kyle Schwarber in a lot of ways. The only difference is that Pederson wasn’t a key piece to the Cubs ending a 108 World Series drought. You can say that Pederson would be easier to move at the deadline than Schwarber which is probably true (if the Cubs do in fact stink and want to trade any expiring contracts).
The Chicago Cubs choosing Jake Arrieta over Jon Lester is where things make no sense.
Let’s be very clear about something, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester’s stats in 2020 were almost identical. This isn’t an argument of who is going to be better in 2021. This is an argument that giving Arrieta six million dollars instead of giving Lester whatever he wanted (he was willing to take a hometown discount before the Washington Nationals gave him five million) is crazy talk.
Lester is pretty much a Cubs legend at this point. He may also be a Boston Red Sox legend but this guy was one of the faces of this team finally winning the World Series. He is the greatest free-agent signing in the history of the Cubs and one of the two biggest in Chicago sports history (Marian Hossa, Chicago Blackhawks). Jake Arrieta was huge for them in their run to the top but Lester was something else for longer.
It really seemed like Lester wanted to return. There were many rumors out there about how he waited long enough for the Cubs to offer him something but they weren’t interested. Well, now they are interested in bringing back a player like Arrieta who hasn’t been good in a few years now. If you’re going to bring in a guy with a 5.00 ERA or higher, it might as well be Lester. We don’t know what the Cubs are doing here long term but it doesn’t look smart.