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Jon Lester signs with Cubs

Last year there wasn't much excitement in Chicago, as both the White Sox and Cubs finished well below .500, but yesterday both clubs made major acquisitions.

The Red Sox's plan to trade Lester, then re-sign him was foiled by former Sox GM Theo Epstein
The Red Sox's plan to trade Lester, then re-sign him was foiled by former Sox GM Theo Epstein
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Indians made the big splash on the first full day of the Winter Meetings, and on Tuesday, the two Chicago clubs shared the spotlight.

But first, let's look at the Indians-related news, for this site is called Let's Go Tribe:

Indians News

Travis Hafner making comeback with Cleveland Indians as hitting coach? |

Before you start thinking of Travis Hafner in an Indians uniform, the role he'd be playing would be as a part-time minor-league hitting coach, not one of the major-league jobs. Hafner lives in the Cleveland area, and most of the club's minor-league teams are in Ohio (Columbus, Akron, Lake County, Mahoning Valley). It seems a perfect fit for the club and the former player, and could lead to more formal role in future years.

Cleveland Indians, not Detroit Tigers, scare Kansas City manager Ned Yost |

I'm sure the comment from Ned Yost will filter its way into the Detroit Tigers clubhouse (do baseball clubs still have bulletin boards?). Last year the Royals went 9-10 against the Indians, and split a late-season series against the Indians (one was a makeup of a suspended game) to make things interesting the last week of September. And based on how both clubs are approaching next year, I'm expecting another competitive season series between the Indians and Royals in 2015.

Grandmother forever in Brantley's heart |

Jordan Bastian talks to Michael Brantley about his relationship with his grandmother. who passed away two years after a battle with cancer. When Michael got his 200th hit, he blew a kiss to her after reaching first base.

MLB is holding an auction to benefit LUNGevity (an organization dedicated to fighting lung cancer), and the Indians have included two experiences:

Take BP On-Field and Meet Terry Francona and Michael Brantley

Take Tito's Tickets to the Cavs Game

AL Central News

The White Sox had a huge day, making two major acquisitions to their pitching staff.

White Sox sign David Robertson - South Side Sox

White Sox trade for Samardzija and Michael Ynoa, give up Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley, Rangel Ravelo and Marcus Semien - South Side Sox

The contract for Robertson is 4 years, $46M, and probably will be the biggest contract given out to a reliever this winter. But that was quickly eclipsed by the Samardzija trade. The A's, who acquired the big right-hander from the Cubs this past summer, dealt him back to Chicago, though this time to the South Side.

Semien should be considered the big piece heading to Oakland - he should be the A's starting shortstop next season. Samardzija is eligible for free agency after the 2015 season, but the White Sox will try to sign him to an extension before that happens. He grew up in nearby Valparaiso, Indiana, so it seems like he'd be open to an long-term deal.

The trade makes the White Sox rotation rather formidable, at least at the top. A top three of Chris Sale, Jeff Samardzija, and Jose Quintana is pretty scary.

Not to be out-done, the North Side club made their own splashes on Tuesday as well:

Free agent Lester agrees to deal with Cubs |

The Cubs outbid the Red Sox and several other clubs for Lester, who will reportedly getting a 6-year, $155M contract. We should now start to see other pitchers (such as Max Scherzer) sign, as it seemed as though everyone was waiting for Lester.

Cubs complete trade with D-backs for Montero |

Earlier in the day, the Cubs acquired Miguel Montero from the Arizona Diamondbacks for prospects Jeferson Mejia and Zack Godley. Montero is signed through 2017, and is scheduled to make $40M over those three years.

Dave Dombrowski rejects rumor that Tigers are set on re-signing Max Scherzer: 'That's not accurate' |

At this point nothing the Tigers do will shock me, but I think even Mike Ilitch has his limits. The Tigers just acquired Shane Greene from the Yankees, and would seem to have their rotation set with David Price, Anibal Sanchez, Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, and Greene under control through at least 2015. I'd say a David Price extension makes more sense than re-signing Scherzer.