Before the Chicago Cubs signed Jon Lester, Boston Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was already talking about contingency plans for acquiring other pitchers. He wasn’t kidding as Boston quickly added three pitchers to the rotation after being spurned by Lester.

Lester, 30, went to the Cubs for an overall average of $25.8 million a year.

That price is baseball’s version of shopping on Fifth Avenue in New York, or Boston’s Newberry Street.

Without Lester, Cherington then went to the mall and found some quality bargains.

Rick Porcello, 25, Justin Masterson, 29, and Wade Miley, 28, will cost the Red Sox $26 million next year.

With those deals, Boston emerged as one of the winners from the winter meetings last week in San Diego.

Before we look at Boston and the rest of the AL East teams’ re-stocking efforts in the offseason, a reminder that winning in the winter months can mean little.

Remember when Toronto added a load of talented players before the 2013 season – and finished last in the division?

At this time two years ago, Boston was underwhelming in its additions, with David Ross, Johnny Gomes and Shane Victorino. But the 2013 Red Sox became something special.

Likewise, the angst-ridden reaction to Boston losing out on Lester reminded me of 2003 when the Red Sox’ proposed deal to obtain Alex Rodriguez fell through. Fans screamed about the Red Sox blowing it, but Boston did OK in 2004.

So what will 2015 look like – from the vantage point of Dec. 14, 2014?

 The Blue Jays again look formidable. They finished fourth in the league in runs scored last year and have added third baseman Josh Donaldson and catcher Russell Martin. Starters R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Marcus Stroman give Toronto a solid rotation, but the Blue Jays still need relief help.

 Baltimore is the defending division champ, but need to replace the big bats of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis. The Orioles have not yet made a major move this offseason. They return most of their pitching (reliever Andrew Miller is gone) so offense will be the focus.

 Tampa Bay has been quiet this offseason, with its biggest addition so far being new manager Kevin Cash. While the Rays still have good, young pitching (Alex Cobb, Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi), they ranked last in runs scored in the American League last year.

 We keep waiting for the Yankees to make the big moves, but New York is hampered by an already bloated payroll and few tradable players or prospects. The Yankees have yet to add pitching, prompting General Manager Brian Cashman to tell mlb.com “I clearly don’t have a (Yoenis) Cespedes to send to Detroit for Porcello.” So far, Cashman has added Miller and shortstop Didi Gregories.

New York has lost starter Brandon McCarthy (Dodgers) and reliever David Robertson (White Sox).

The Yankees have to add arms, which makes agent Scott Boras drool over the prospect of a $200-million contract for starter Max Scherzer.

So where does Boston fit in this division? Looking good so far (Boston appeared solid last offseason, too).

With a veteran rotation of Clay Buchholz, Porcello, Masterson, Miley and Joe Kelly, Boston has enough inning-eaters. With pitchers like Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes, Steven Wright and the left-handers (Henry Owens, Eduardo Rodriguez and Brian Johnson), the Red Sox still have depth if there is an injury.

The additions of Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez should bolster the lineup, but there is always the concern for injuries, with players like Victorino, Mike Napoli, David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.

On paper, Ben Cherington has done his job of rebuilding the last-place Red Sox.

Moan about the loss of Lester. But Cherington’s bargains may end up being a better deal for Boston, this season and beyond.