Boston Red Sox owner John Henry met with free-agent pitcher Jon Lester on Friday, according to Rob Bradford and Alex Speier of WEEI.com.
Negotiations with the free-agent lefty are ongoing, though Lester is expected to make his decision during this week's winter meetings in San Diego. According to WEEI, Henry flew to visit Lester in Atlanta on Friday.
With Lester on the cusp of making a decision as to where he might sign, Henry´s visit was thought to be a chance for the owner to re-emphasize the Red Sox´ interest in signing the lefty. It was the second time Henry has met with Lester at the pitcher´s home during the free agent process, although the previous get-together was with other members of Sox´ownership.
Four teams are believed to be the potential suitors for Lester: the Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers were the last team to enter the race for Lester last week, but the team reportedly has "serious interest" in signing him.
Lester spent the second half of last season with the Oakland Athletics after eight-plus with the Red Sox. He was traded to Oakland, along with outfielder Jonny Gomes, before the July 31 non-waiver deadline in a deal for outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. Over 219.2 innings all season, Lester finished 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA, 220 strikeouts and 48 walks.
According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, Lester has received offers from multiple teams in the range of $130-140 million. The Red Sox are reportedly "favored," though their offer is "seen as maybe a bit lower."
- Mike Fiammetta