SAN DIEGO — Some things to know as Major League Baseball's winter meetings head into the third day on Wednesday:
WINDY CITY WONDERS
North Side, South Side, it's fun to be a baseball fan in Chicago this offseason. Jon Lester agreed Tuesday to a $155 million, six-year contract with the Cubs, who earlier in the day acquired All-Star catcher Miguel Montero from Arizona for a pair of minor leaguers. Lester turned down a chance to return to Boston, where he helped pitch the Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles before he was dealt to Oakland last summer. While the Cubs seek their first championship since 1908, the White Sox try for their second since 1917 and first since 2005. After agreeing with free-agent closer David Robertson on a $46 million, four-year deal late Monday, the White Sox acquired former Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija from the Athletics in a six-player trade on Tuesday to join a revamped roster that includes first baseman Adam LaRoche and left-hander Zach Duke.
With a crowded outfield that includes Yasiel Puig, Carl Crawford, Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp, the Dodgers have discussed a possible deal to trade Kemp down the Interstate 5 (or the Pacific Coast Highway, if a longer trip with a view is preferred) to the San Diego Padres. While the Dodgers ended the New York Yankees' 15-year streak as baseball's biggest spender and could afford Kemp's huge contract, the Padres are not likely to take on all of the $107 million he is owed over the next five seasons. Through two days of the four-day session, Kemp remained in Dodgers blue.
SPEED IT UP
MLB's rules committee meets Wednesday, and one of the big topics of discussion will be pace of game after a season in which the average time of a nine-inning game stretched to 3 hours, 2 minutes — up from 2:33 in 1981. Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre said he will first discuss with the 30 managers changing the way they make their requests for replay reviews. Torre is unhappy with the way managers “meander” out of the dugout and wait to be signaled by a coach.
Known for Moneyball in Oakland, Athletics general manager Billy Beane has been the Federal Express of baseball during the offseason: He ships anywhere at any time and seems to be telling other teams “Our Most Important Package Is Yours.” The A's traded an All-Star for the third time in less than two weeks, sending Samardzija to the White Sox along with right-hander Michael Ynoa. The A's obtained right-hander Chris Bassitt, catcher Josh Phegley, first baseman Rangel Ravelo and infielder Marcus Semien. Following its loss to Kansas City in the AL wild-card game, Oakland traded third baseman Josh Donaldson to Toronto on Nov. 28 and first baseman/outfielder Brandon Moss to Cleveland on Monday.
ONE MORE GAME
Buck Showalter spent Saturday with Chris Davis, and the Baltimore Orioles manager came away from their meeting impressed — so impressed that Showalter is counting on Davis having a big season for the AL East champions after a down year that ended with the slugger on the suspended list. Davis has to sit out one more game of a 25-game ban for testing positive for adderall. He will miss the April 7 opener at Tampa Bay before he gets a chance prove his 53 homers and 138 RBIs in 2013 weren't a fluke. Davis hit .196 with 26 homers and 72 RBIs this season.