The St. Louis Cardinals have joined the pursuit of free agent pitcher Jon Lester.
The Cardinals join the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves as the main suitors for the pitcher's services. The 30-year-old is ranked as the offseason's No. 2 free agent by SI.com's Ben Reiter.
Lester, who was traded at July's deadline from the Boston Red Sox to the Oakland Athletics, went 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA and 220 strikeouts in 219.2 innings in 2014.
Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington reportedly met with Lester's agent last week. Lester spent the first eight-plus seasons of his career with Boston, winning the World Series in 2007 and 2013.
Lester will reportedly meet with the Cubs in Chicago this week for a formal meeting with the team's brass and owner Tom Ricketts. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein was Boston's GM when Lester signed a six-year deal with the Red Sox in 2008.
The Braves are scheduled to meet with Lester on Thursday, according to MLB.com's Mark Bowman.
Lester is a three-time All-Star, including an appearance this season, and pitched a no-hitter in 2008.
- Molly Geary