The Rundown: Red Sox Offer Lester But Open to Negotiation, 40-Man Roster Deadline Today

The Boston Red Sox have made an offer to LHP Jon Lester, as was first reported by Gordon Edes. Here we go.

According to Nick Cafardo, the offer is between $110 and $120 million. Not an earth-shattering number, and terms that I think — and hope — the Cubs would be willing to beat to sign Lester. Not surprisingly, however, the Red Sox would be willing to negotiate further, Rob Bradford writes.

Lester is expected to meet with the Braves today. He makes his home in suburban Atlanta during the offseason.

I’m pretty torn on what will happen with Lester. I think the Cubs might be willing to offer more than the Red Sox, but I’m not sure he would rather come to Chicago over Boston.

According to former Cub Ryan Dempster, Chicago is a city that definitely interests Lester. Dempster, who played with Lester in Boston, joined the “Kap & Haugh Show” on 87.7 The Game on Wednesday. He said Lester has picked his brain, so to speak, about what it’s like to live and play baseball in Chicago.

Dempster said Lester didn’t meet with the Cubs simply to jack up the price in negotiations. He “genuinely loves the city,” according to Dempster. I’d say that’s a good sign. Obviously the money will have the final say. But it sounds like it might not be the only factor.

I just hope Dempster didn’t do his Harry Caray impression for Lester during their conversations.

Other notes

* Today is the deadline for teams to finalize their 40-man rosters to protect players in the Rule 5 draft, which will take place Dec. 11. For those not familiar, players not protected can be drafted by other teams and placed on that team’s 40-man roster. However, players taken in the Rule 5 draft must remain on the team’s 25-man roster for the entire season, and can’t be sent to the minors. Otherwise, the player is returned to the original club. Needless to say, you expect some roster shuffling today around the league.

* Will the NL Central be the most dominant division in baseball next year?’s Mike Bauman seems to think so. It’s hard to say at this point before we see what happens in free agency, but I can buy this argument. The Cardinals are the Cardinals. If the Reds keep the band together, they’ll be tough. The Pirates have a load of young talent. I’m not super worried about the Brewers, but they’re not pushovers. Obviously, we expect the Cubs to be improved next year. But things certainly won’t be easy. At least, that’s how it looks now. Sometimes baseball can be weird.

* Bruce Levine reports that former Cubs scouting director, and current assistant to Theo Epstein, Tim Wilken will interview for the Diamondbacks’ scouting director job. Wilken was hired by Jim Hendry in 2006.

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