1. Jon Lester
When the Yankees needed to round off their starting rotation with one final candidate, some thought Jon Lester would be the perfect match.
He’s a World Series champion who was looking for a new home and a chance at redemption after falling off with the Chicago Cubs. The Boston Red Sox lowballed him in contract talks years back, so why not come to the Bronx and stick it to them?
It wasn’t unreasonable to assume a fairly toxic environment in Chicago (a managerial change, tension with Kris Bryant, no security beyond 2021 for other cornerstones like Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo) affected Lester’s play, which featured back-to-back uncharacteristically bad campaigns in 2019 and 2020.
When the Nationals brought him on board for one year and $10 million to put him alongside Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, some wondered why the Yankees didn’t think his experience, pedigree and well-within-reason chance to bounce back wasn’t enough for them.
Well, again, Cashman was right. Lester, after a bad start with the Nats, was traded to St. Louis, where he has also been bad, at the deadline. Overall, he’s got a 5.05 ERA and 1.58 WHIP in 22 starts. Like Minor, that would’ve been the worst the Yankees would feature in their rotation this year. Domingo German and Michael King are better options.
Now, that $11 million spent on Corey Kluber? It really doesn’t look so bad.