The Royals are due to have an interesting offseason this winter, and with rumors they are one of the most interested teams for Cuban slugger Yasmany Tomas, Royals fans are optimistic a big move could be made.
Then Fox Sports Kansas City's Jeffrey Flanagan dropped this bomb on us this morning.
Surprise, surprise: Sources say #Royals have had prelim talks with agents for Jon Lester.— Jeffrey Flanagan (@jflanagankc) November 14, 2014
The thirty-year old Lester is the premiere free agent on the market this winter and will likely command the heftiest salary. Lester turned in his best performance in 2014, posting a 2.47 ERA and 2.80 FIP while striking out a hitter per inning in 219 2/3 innings between Boston and Oakland. He dominated the Royals, beating them three times this year, although the Royals had the last laugh knocking off Lester and the Athletics in the Wild Card game. Historically he has fared well against KC with a 9-3 record and a 1.84 ERA in 13 regular season starts against them, including a no-hitter back in 2008.
What makes Lester even more attractive is that he won't require giving up a draft pick as compensation. The Cubs and Red Sox have been the most reported suitors for Lester with most expecting the free agent to command a salary commensurate with Zack Greinke's six year-$147 million deal, if not much more.
With a payroll expected around $100-105 million, it will be difficult for the Royals to fit Lester in their plans without moving other players like Greg Holland, Wade Davis, or Alex Gordon. Perhaps this is all smoke to cloud the Royals other moves, perhaps they're just kicking the tires, or perhaps we're in for one of the craziest Royals off-season in recent memory. Anything is possible with Dayton Moore.