Happ: Lester in No. 4 or 5 slot of Nats rotation is ‘dangerous'


Kyle Schwarber read The Athletic’s report off Twitter while taping with The Compound podcast crew on Monday: Jon Lester was in talks with the Nationals.

That bit of news must have just leaked out – “I’ve got to go to my iPhone right now, I’ve got to look this up,” Schwarber said. But as the day progressed, Lester and the Nationals agreed to a deal.

At the time of the taping, excitement was already building in Schwarber’s voice.

“Ooo,” he said. “OK, OK. Now—oooo, alright!”

Schwarber was the special guest on The Compound this week with hosts Ian Happ, Dakota Mekkes and Zack Short. All four were at Cubs Spring Training last year. But since then, the Cubs have traded Short, an infield prospect, and non-tendered Schwarber, a former member of the Cubs’ championship core.

Of course, the Lester news was especially exciting for Schwarber because about a week earlier, the outfielder had also signed with Washington.

The Score’s Dan Bernstein asked Happ about that moment on the podcast when the Cubs centerfielder joined The Bernstein & Rahimi Show on Thursday.

“Whenever you have someone who's as accomplished as Jon is coming over to be a part of your team,” Happ said, “especially for Schwarb, this is the first time he’s been on a new team -- and so, to be able to go through that with a really good friend and mentor like Jon Lester, who has had to do this a couple times, I think it’ll really helped him.”

Lester joins a strong Nationals rotation that includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin.

“Jon Lester in the four or five spot in the rotations is dangerous,” Happ said. “I'll take that any day of the week.”

Happ went on to talk about the influence Lester had on pitchers like Kyle Hendricks, as the veteran southpaw emphasized throwing deep into games for the sake of the team.

“That wealth of knowledge around the game of baseball is something everybody's going to miss,” Happ told Leila Rahimi, “and the conversations on the plane, him organizing team dinners and getting everybody to go out and talk baseball and talk shop, inviting guys up to his suite to have a couple beers to talk about baseball. He loves talking about the game, he loves teaching the game, and that was something just from a camaraderie standpoint as a teammate that I'll definitely miss. Not to mention our golf games.”

Schwarber, at least, won’t have to miss any of that.

As Lester and the Nationals’ talks progressed Monday, Schwarber was cheering for a deal on The Compound.

“Come on, Nats,” Schwarber said, “let’s get it done.”

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