From the sounds of it, that six-year, $120 million offer the Red Sox submitted to Jon Lester is doing work. Peter Gammons reported on Monday morning that the Red Sox and Lester reunion is "close to happening" according to a pair of National League general managers. The thing is, though, that we will still have to wait a couple of weeks to find out if "close" can become complete instead, and there are still some hurdles to clear.
For one, Lester is meeting with the Cardinals the week after Thanksgiving. The Cardinals are not as rich as the Red Sox, but they're arguably the best-run organization in baseball, and could provide Lester with the stability and environment he has publicly hoped for. The Giants, seemingly realizing that Pablo Sandoval is slipping away, have shifted their attention to Lester, and can also provide a Lester-worthy environment and paycheck. Most frighteningly, one reason Lester and the Sox haven't agreed to anything yet is because his agents are still waiting to hear from the Yankees. He might not have any intention of pitching for them, but if the Yankees express interest in him, the Sox (or whomever) will have to bump their offer up at least a little bit.
That's a whole lot to digest from one paragraph buried deep within Gammons' latest, but that appears to be where the Red Sox and Lester stand at the moment. The Hanley Ramirez deal isn't finalized, but it sounds like that's one of Monday's goals for both sides. The Pablo Sandoval deal isn't official, but a decision will come on Monday, and if the Sox lose him to the Giants or Padres, they will still have Yoenis Cespedes around, and can shift Hanley to third base the moment the ink dries on his deal.
The Sox need Lester. If not Lester specifically, they need a pitcher of his ability. If they can get him slightly under market because of their familiarity with him, the presence of John Farrell, and maybe their almost new additions, then that's fantastic news for the Sox. Even if they do still need another pitcher after that. There is time yet for that, as well as convincing Lester to come back home.