Chicago Cubs: Shortened season or not, Jon Lester wants a fourth ring

Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images) /

In true Jon Lest er fashion, he’s got his eyes on bringing the Chicago Cubs a ring.

With three World Series rings to his name, Chicago Cubs left-hander Jon Lester is ready to toe the slab in 2020 in aim of a fourth. It doesn’t matter to him that the regular season is just 60 games, that there won’t be fans in the stands or the fact that the game will be surrounded by an array of COVID-19 related policies and restrictions.

What matters? Winning another title – and perhaps putting the finishing touch on a brilliant five-year run on the North Side of Chicago.

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"“A ring’s a ring,” Lester told “I’m still fighting for that. I don’t care if it’s 60 games or 190 games or whatever it is. You still have to play well to get that trophy.”"

Across 159 regular season starts with the Cubs, Lester boasts a 3.54 ERA and 1.242 WHIP. But his regular season performances over the half-decade pale in comparison to his work in the postseason. With the shortened regular season in 2020, October baseball will be upon us quicker than ever before. For now, it’s about getting there.

Last season, Chicago struggled in September – and it cost the team a postseason berth. For the first time since 2014, the Cubs watched from home as the Washington Nationals won the first World Series championship in franchise history.

Something like that only fuels Lester, who’s long been considered one of the grittiest performers in the game. Never mind the fact he’s 36 years old and has nearly 2,600 regular season innings on his left arm – that fire continues to burn and he’s ready to show he’s got plenty left in the tank.

"“He’s prepped and locked in when he steps on that mound,” his former teammate and new manager David Ross said. “His resume obviously speaks for itself, of what he’s done. But, outside of what he’s done on the field, I think he’s influenced this organization as a whole in a really good way.”"

On Sunday night, Lester struck out four in 2 1/3 innings of work in a simulated game at Wrigley Field – his first Summer Camp action. The Cubs are going to need every possible inning they can get from their veteran southpaw, especially with the fifth spot in the rotation looking very much like a question mark in the wake of the Jose Quintana injury.

You’re now looking at a rotation featuring Yu Darvish, Kyle Hendricks and Lester – followed by Tyler Chatwood, who slides up from the fifth to fourth spot now. The final void will likely be filled by young right-hander Alec Mills – at least until Quintana returns from his injury.

Chicago had rotation depth concerns heading into the year even healthy. Next year, it’s down to just Hendricks and Darvish – with Chatwood and Quintana hitting free agency and the Cubs likely buying out Lester’s $25 million option. That’s not to say Theo Epstein won’t bring Lester back on a new deal, but there’s a great deal of uncertainty nonetheless.

That’s not what Lester – or the front office – are focused on right now. Now, it’s about making the most of a shortened season and getting the job done.

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"“When we look back on this, yeah, people will talk about this season,” Lester said. “But, you still have to show up. You still have to play well, and you still have to do your job in order to get that trophy, to get that ring. And that’s still important to us, and it’s still important to me.”"