The Chicago Cubs have acquired ace Oakland A’s pitcher Jon Lester through free agency.
The news comes one day after the crosstown rival Chicago White Sox picked up Jeff Samardzija from the A’s. Samardzija is a former Cub and a star football and baseball player from Notre Dame.
Lester helped lead the A’s to a wild card playoff berth in 2014. The A’s at one point in the season had the best record in baseball.
Lester pitched an impressive 2.46 ERA in 2014, the 8th best in the majors, with 16 wins. He spent several years with the Boston Red Sox during the time that they won two World Series titles. Lester worked with Cubs President Theo Epstein when they were both with the Boston Red Sox. The left-handed pitcher’s contract with the Cubs is reportedly worth $155 million over 6 years.
“It’s not often you get to win the lottery,” new Cubs manager Joe Maddon told reporters after the announcement. “We won the baseball lottery so far this year, but now it’s up to us to put it into effect. It’s all theory right now. We’ve got to make it real, but you need pieces like this to make it real.”
The Cubs finished last in the NL Central in 2014 with a 73-89 record. The Cubs have recently signed two-time All-Star Miguel Montero and brought back starting pitcher Jason Hammel, who they traded to the A’s last summer. The rebuilt team hopes to make a legitimate playoff push in the 2015 season.