Waiting for Lester at winter meetings

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All Eyes On Lester At Winter Meetings


SAN DIEGO (AP) -- As players and teams waited for Jon Lester to make a decision and start defining the high-end pitching market, baseball's winter meetings opened Monday with Oakland jettisoning yet another All-Star and the Chicago White Sox adding a closer.

In the first swap of the four-day session, the Athletics sent first baseman-outfielder Brandon Moss to Cleveland for minor league infielder Joey Wendle. That followed Oakland's trade last month of third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto.

The White Sox agreed to a $46 million, four-year contract with David Robertson, according to a person familiar with the negotiations. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not yet been announced. Chicago also was working to acquire pitcher Jeff Samardzija in a trade from the Athletics.

Big-name moves among free-agent starting pitchers are taking more time to percolate. Traded from Boston to Oakland last summer, Lester was sought by the Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs.

Athletics general manager Billy Beane is watching the bidding without getting personally involved from his position with the low-payroll A's.

"That one's more just for my industry curiosity as much as anything," he said. "Like Arthur Miller being married briefly to Marilyn Monroe - that's who we are. We're the Arthur Miller in Lester's career."

Max Scherzer and James Shields appeared content to wait for Lester to reach a deal first. And trade talks for top pitchers seemed secondary.

"Almost any move that's made has some kind of domino effect, some more pronounced than others," said Andrew Friedman, the Dodgers' new president of baseball operations. "But obviously when you're talking about the bigger guys coming off the board, there's a more pronounced trickle-down effect."

Lester helped Boston go from worst to first and win the 2013 World Series, and then was part of a purge as the Red Sox again dropped to last in the AL East.

"We're still optimistic that he'll be in a Red Sox uniform. There's a lot of history between the Red Sox and Jon," Boston manager John Farrell said. "We obviously have a strong desire to bring him back. And yet, hopefully, this is coming to a little bit of a head here."

Jon Lester Career Wins and ERA | FindTheBest

The perennially woeful Cubs got a player back at the less pricey level, agreeing to a $20 million, two-year contract with right-hander Jason Hammel - a pitcher Chicago traded to the A's last summer. That deal was confirmed by a person familiar with those talks, who also spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

Arizona finalized its $68.5 million, six-year contract with Yasmany Tomas, a 24-year-old Cuban defector the Diamondbacks may move from the outfield to third base.

"Initially, you've got to believe that that's a lot of money to be passing out on any player," new Diamondbacks general manager Dave Stewart said. "And in this day and time when a player has not played here, he's not proven yet here, that makes it even a little bit uncomfortably. But once you get the right information and you've checked the right sources, it makes it a lot easier to make the move."

Cleveland obtained the 31-year-old Moss, who hit .234 with 25 homers and 81 RBIs in 2014. He batted .268 with 21 homers in the first half of the season to earn his first All-Star selection, but a nagging hip problem cut into his production over the final months.

On Oct. 21, Moss underwent an operation on his hip. Moss said Dr. Thomas Byrd was prepared to perform microfracture surgery, but all he needed was a labrum repair and cartilage cleanup.

"It's a really difficult market to acquire offense, whether that's in free agency or the free-agent market, but we thought the deal for Brandon made sense because we felt we were getting one of the better power hitters in the game," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said.

As the meetings began, the doors to baseball's Hall of Fame remained shut to this year's Golden Era committee candidates.

Nine players and one executive whose primary contributions were from 1947-72 all failed to receive the 75 percent of the vote needed for election.

Dick Allen and Tony Oliva came closest, each receiving 11 of 16 votes, one shy of the 75 percent needed for election. Jim Kaat appeared on 10 ballots, Maury Wills nine and Minnie Minoso eight.

Ken Boyer, Gil Hodges, Billy Pierce and Luis Tiant each received three or fewer votes, as did the late Cincinnati Reds general manager Bob Howsam.

"The results today are a reminder that election to the Hall of Fame is incredibly difficult and the highest honor an individual can receive in baseball," Hall of Fame chairman Jane Forbes Clark said.

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Waiting for Lester at winter meetings

Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox during photo day at City of Palms Park on February 26, 2006 in Ft. Myers, Florida. 

Photo Credit: Robert Sargent, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Oakland A's on September 26, 2007 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Elsa, Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox celebrated after sweeping the Colorado Rockies in four games to win the 2007 World Series in four games. The Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 4-3 at Coors Field Sunday October 28, 2007. 

Photo Credit: Karl Gehring, The Denver Post/Getty Images

Starting pitcher Jon Lester of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with the trophy in the locker room after winning Game Four by a score of 4-3 to win the 2007 Major League Baseball World Series in a four game sweep of the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on October 28, 2007 in Denver, Colorado.

Photo Credit: Jed Jacobsohn, Getty Images

Pitcher Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox watches his team from the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays during the game at Tropicana Field July 1, 2008 in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

Photo Credit: J. Meric, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after throwing a no hitter against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park on May 19, 2008 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox deals to the New York Yankees on July 3, 2008 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac, Getty Images

Pitcher Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch during a game against the Oakland A's on May 25, 2008 at McAfee Coliseum in Oakland, California. Oakland won 6-3. 

Photo Credit: Greg Trott, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31of the Boston Red Sox throws against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park, April 8, 2009, in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox pitches against the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park on July 30, 2009 in Boston, Massachusetts The Red Sox defeated the Athletics 8 to 5. 

Photo Credit: Rob Tringali, Sportschrome/Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox poses during photo day at the Boston Red Sox Spring Training practice facility on February 28, 2010 in Ft. Myers, Florida.

Photo Credit: Gregory Shamus, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox lays on the mound after being hit in the knee by the New York Yankees Melky Cabrera #53 line drive during the game on September 25, 2009 at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox wears a special edition hat in honor of Memorial Day as the Red Sox take on the Kansas City Royals on May 30, 2010 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Photo Credit: Elsa, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox prepares to throw during the game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on August 21, 2011 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga, Getty Images

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester delivers against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning of a baseball game at Fenway Park in Boston Monday, May 30, 2011.

Photo Credit: Winslow Townson, AP Photo

John Lackey #41 and Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox congratulate teammate Kelly Schoppach #10 following their win against the Detroit Tigers during the game on July 30, 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. 

Photo Credit: Jared Wickerham, Getty Images

Starting Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester, pitches during a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park in Boston.

Photo Credit: Aram Boghosian, The Boston Globe/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester delivers to the Tampa Bay Rays in the first inning of an exhibition spring training baseball game in Fort Myers, Fla., Sunday, March 17, 2013. 

Photo Credit: Elise Amendola, AP Photo

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after giving up two run against the Cleveland Indians in the 3rd inning at Fenway Park on May 25, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash, Getty Images

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester delivers against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning of a baseball game on Sunday, June 16, 2013, in Baltimore. 

Photo Credit: Nick Wass, AP Photo

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox hugs Jarrod Saltalamacchia #39 after the Red Sox defeated the Detroit Tigers 20-4 on September 4, 2013 at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts. 

Photo Credit: Michael Ivins, Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

This multiple exposure image shows Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester throwing during the seventh inning of Game 1 of baseball's World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Boston.

Photo Credit: David J. Phillip, AP Photo

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester throws in the outfield before Game 1 of baseball's World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, in Boston.

Photo Credit: Matt Slocum, AP Photo

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Koji Uehara jumps into David Ross's arms after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 6 of baseball's World Series Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Boston. The Red Sox won 6-1 to win the series. 

Photo Credit: Matt Slocum, AP Photo

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates with his son Hudson and wife Farrah Stone Johnson after defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game Six of the 2013 World Series at Fenway Park on October 30, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jamie Squire, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox reacts after walking a man in the sixth inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park on July 20, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox looks in to the catcher before he delivers a pitch against the New York Yankees during the fifth inning in a MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on June 28, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Photo Credit: Rich Schultz, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox throws in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals at Fenway Park on July 20, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Photo Credit: Jim Rogash, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Oakland Athletics pitches in the in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals during the American League Wild Card game at Kauffman Stadium on September 30, 2014 in Kansas City, Missouri.

Photo Credit: Ed Zurga, Getty Images

Jon Lester #31 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at O.co Coliseum on September 24, 2014 in Oakland, California.

Photo Credit: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Jon Lester looks into the seats after the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago White Sox, Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, in Chicago.

Photo Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast, AP Photo

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