The Red Sox have continually said they plan on making a competitive offer to free agent Jon Lester this offseason. It was hard to believe that was their plan, since the only reported offer from 2014 was embarrassingly low and they then dealt him in July -- even the optimistic among us had a tough time believing a deal could be struck after that. That being said, the Sox could have always believed they had a real opportunity to re-sign Lester, so they decided to move him and bring back Yoenis Cespedes in the hopes of having both of them around in 2015. There was a small chance of it happening, because historically, it just doesn't work that way, but Cespedes beat a compensation draft pick anyway, so it was worth the shot, however small.
If the Cubs are to be believed, though, the Red Sox are going to get Lester back. Peter Gammons, on CBS Sports Radio on Tuesday morning, stated that the Cubs believe Lester will return to the organization that drafted him this offseason. This is worth paying attention to for a few reasons. For one, "the Cubs" is comprised of a mess of individuals who used to make up the Red Sox front office in Theo Epstein, Jed Hoyer, and Jason McLeod. Second, the Cubs have an interest in bringing Lester to Chicago, as they are in desperate need of frontline pitching if they're to contend as planned in 2015, and they have the deep pockets to bring in anyone. Lester is one of their preferences, in no small part because of the organization's familiarity with him -- Theo and Co. already won one World Series after developing and promoting Lester to the majors.
So, a competitor for Lester's services who is familiar with Lester, the Sox front office, Sox ownership believes that the ace is heading back to the team he's spent all but two months of his nine-year career with. It's no guarantee of anything, but if you're searching for something to hold on to over the next few weeks, you can probably get a decent grip on this.
Before you hold on for dear life though, it's also worth pointing out that, per Gammons, Lester's representatives arewaiting to see if the Yankees toss an offer out there. It might not be because they actually want to or would play in New York, but at the least it's for the same reason everyone hopes the Yankees get involved: it just makes the price jump that much higher.