Now in his fourth year in Chicago, Jon Lester has pitched in his 100th game wearing a Cubs uniform. Looking at the numbers he has put up so far, the money was very worth it.
The Chicago Cubs defeated the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday afternoon by a score of 8-5. Part of that victory was starter Jon Lester, who made his 100th regular-season start as a Cub. He had a very good outing as he went six innings giving up two hits, no earned runs and struck out seven. The one Cardinal run that scored in the first inning was unearned.
It is hard to believe that Lester, 34, has this many games already as a Cub. This also does not account for the 11 postseason games he has played in wearing blue. All of his 100 regular season games have been starts, no relief appearances.
Breaking down the numbers
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The roughly $70 million he has made so far from his six-year, $155 million deal has been well worth it. He has been a very good pitcher and has been a part of three NLCS teams and the 2016 World Series winning team.
His 100 games are equivalent to 608 2/3 innings pitched. In that span he sports a 3.33 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 602 strikeouts, 67 quality starts, three complete games, three pickoffs and a 45-25 record.
Still a ways to go
Lester still has a ways to go to catch his total innings in Boston (1,519 1/3) as a Cub, and there is no realistic way he will reach that on his deal.
However, if he can stay healthy and plays out his entire contract in Chicago, he can potentially reach 1,000 innings as a Cub. He is 391 1/3 innings away from that mark. So far outside the short DL stint last year, he has stayed fully healthy and surpassed 200 innings his first two years while still putting up 180 2/3 last season.
It is always risky signing a pitcher that is over 30 for over three years, and Theo Epstein and co. took that risk on Jon Lester when he was in his prime. Will he be dominant at the end of his deal? Probably not, he is already showing a few signs of age, though can still be very effective. No matter what happens, it was worth it. Big contracts often pay for the first few years, and the numbers show that Lester delivered what everyone in the Cubs organization wanted.