SAN DIEGO — It was here, at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego, during the 2014 winter meetings that Joe Maddon landed the ace he coveted for his new team. The team was the Chicago Cubs, and the ace was Jon Lester. Maddon got word late on a Tuesday night, just as he was returning from dinner.
“Several glasses of wine later,” he said.
“We need something like that,” Maddon said. “I anticipate something like that.”
The winter meetings began on Monday with Stephen Strasburg‘s agreeing to a seven-year, $245 million deal, a higher-than-anticipated contract that could push Cole into the area of $300 million. Maddon has already spoken with Cole, Strasburg and Zach Wheeler, who joined the Phillies on a five-year deal worth $118 million — one on the phone, the other two in person.
He found Cole, the Angels’ primary target from the onset, to be “very bright.”
“He’s very bright, and he’s not afraid to ask you a question,” Maddon said. “… And he has definite ideas on what it takes to be successful, and it’s really apparent in his game…