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What if Jon Lester had signed with the Giants instead?

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Would things be better if the Giants had landed Lester or would they be much, much worse?

NLDS Game 1: San Francisco at Chicago Cubs Armando Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

On Wednesday afternoon, Jon Lester will take the mound against the Giants. Anytime Lester pops up as a probable starter, it serves as a reminder of just how adamantly the Giants pursued the lefty back before the 2015 season. The Giants sent Buster Posey to try and woo him to San Francisco. Giants brass wanted Lester to get a player’s perspective of playing by the bay, but they also wanted Lester to know that if he became a Giant, he could be friends with Buster Posey.

For whatever reason, Lester refused the Giants’ offer and went with the Cubs instead. He went on to win a World Series with them, and he has still been pretty good in the fifth year of his deal. The Giants eventually went with Johnny Cueto who did not help the Giants to a World Series though he was very good until he needed Tommy John surgery.

In hindsight, things seemed to work out better for the Cubs, but what if Lester had been wooed by the siren song of Buster Posey? What if Jon Lester had signed with the Giants instead? Would he have kept the Even Year Magic alive? Or would he have thrust us into an even darker timeline than the one we currently find ourselves in?

In 2015, Jon Lester probably doesn’t get the Giants to the playoffs. They finished eight games back of the Dodgers and even if you subtract Lester’s contributions from the Cubs and tack them onto the Giants, that doesn’t erase the difference between the two teams. The Cubs still lose to the Mets in the NLCS and everything else works out the same.

But there’s one major difference for the Giants in 2015. With Lester on the roster, the Giants never feel the need to trade for Mike Leake. They instead hang onto Adam Duvall. This will be important later

After losing out on Lester and falling short of a playoff run, the Cubs sign Johnny Cueto to join Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks in their exciting, but incomplete, starting rotation.

The 2016 season continues mostly the same. The Cubs still dominate the Central and the Giants still squeak into the Wild Card following their post-All-Star Game collapse. Madison Bumgarner still throws a complete game shutout against the Mets in the Wild Card game.

But things start to take a turn in the 2016 NLDS. For game one, instead of Johnny Cueto vs. Jon Lester it’s Jon Lester vs. Johnny Cueto. The two trade scoreless frames in much of the same way except Johnny Cueto doesn’t leave a pitch out over the plate to Javier Báez, he leaves one out for Adam Duvall.

The Giants win game one of the series on Duvall’s solo home run which means that in the eventual meltdown in game four, there’s still one more game. Another rematch of Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto in Chicago. Once again, Lester emerges victorious, and the Giants move on to the NLCS. Even Year Magic is alive and well!

Except the Giants now have to face the Dodgers. This is where things get dark. There’s no way the 2016 Giants beat the Dodgers. Even with Jon Lester, they were lucky to have even made it that far. The only team that could have taken down the Dodgers that year was the Cubs, and the Giants had just eliminated them.

The Dodgers don’t just beat the Giants, they embarrass them. In the first game of the four-game sweep, they knock Bumgarner around for eight runs in two innings ruining his reputation as a postseason hero. Clayton Kershaw throws a no-hitter, forever breaking the postseason curse that was put upon him by a kindly witch. Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore crumple into dust. Jon Lester pitches fine, but the bullpen self-immolates.

With Kershaw at peak form, the Dodgers trounce Cleveland in the World Series and they win their first championship 28 years. But they don’t stop there. Their experience in the World Series carries over to 2017 and they’re just a little bit looser and a little calmer. The relaxed pitching staff better handles the Astros hitters. Most importantly, Kershaw has figured out how to pitch in the postseason thanks to that no-hitter he threw. He shuts down the Astros and the Dodgers win the World Series again.

But they don’t stop there. After winning the World Series two years in a row, the Dodgers are absolutely sopping with confidence. They enter the 2018 World Series against the Red Sox with an unprecedented amount of Swagger. There’s no way anyone allows Eduardo Núñez to take them deep. The hitters realize that—wait a second—Joe Kelly isn’t that good, and they absolutely torch him. The Dodgers win their third World Series in a row which is what awakens the elder god Y’sylggoth.

The earth rips asunder and the world alights in black flame. The air itself turns to ash. The interminable tentacles of Y’sylggoth darken the sky, and the only light by which to see is the glowing of his red, red eyes. The only solace is that the end comes quickly but in the last moments, Y’sylggoth transmits a message to the minds of the dying: this world is over, so the Dodgers are and will always be reigning World Champions.

So, the Giants didn’t land a solid, durable starter. But I guess things could be worse.