Cubs decline 2021 option on Jon Lester, add infielder off waivers


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Jon Lester could still be back on a team friendly deal (Rah Mehta - USA Today Sports)
Jon Lester could still be back on a team friendly deal (Rah Mehta - USA Today Sports)

CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs today claimed infielder Max Schrock off waivers from the St. Louis Cardinals. Additionally, the team declined its 2021 mutual contract option on left-handed pitcher Jon Lester and left-handed pitcher Rex Brothers was assigned outright to Triple-A Iowa.

Chicago’s 40-man roster stands at 31 players.

Schrock, 26, batted .275 (73-for-265) with 20 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 31 RBI and 12 stolen bases in 85 games for Triple-A Memphis in 2019 before making his major league debut with St. Louis last season, hitting .176 (3-for-17) with a home run in 11 games.

In five minor league seasons, the left-handed hitting Schrock has batted .300 (541-for-1,805) with 103 doubles, eight triples, 24 home runs, 204 RBI and 50 stolen bases in 480 contests. He has struck out 185 times in 1,979 minor league plate appearances, good for an average of just one strikeout every 10.7 plate appearances. Selected by Washington in the 13th round of the 2015 Draft, Schrock has seen time primarily at second base (329 minor league games) as well was third base, shortstop and left field.

Lester, 36, was 3-3 with a 5.16 ERA (35 ER/61.0 IP) in 12 starts last season, walking 17 and striking out 42. In six seasons with the Cubs starting in 2015, Lester posted a 77-44 record with four complete games and a 3.64 ERA (405 ER/1,002.2 IP) in 171 starts. His .636 winning percentage leads all lefthanders in franchise history (min. 100 decisions) and his 77 victories are fifth-most among Cubs lefties all-time. In 12 postseason starts for Chicago, Lester posted a 2.44 ERA (19 ER/70.0 IP) with a 3-3 record and a .201 opponent batting average.

Brothers, 32, had no record and an 8.10 ERA (3 ER/3.1 IP) in three relief appearances for Chicago last season. He signed a minor league deal with the club in December of 2019.

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