Clayton Kershaw‘s seven-year, $215 million deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers begs the question: Will Jon Lester sign a long-term contract extension with the Boston Red Sox?
Lester, who is set to hit free agency next offseason, hasn’t begun discussing a possible extension with the Red Sox, according to WEEI.com. All signs reportedly point toward the two sides beginning negotiations during spring training.
This isn’t too surprising, as a similar report surfaced at the beginning of the offseason. Lester didn’t want to discuss an extension during the 2013 season because he didn’t want the discussions to be a distraction, especially since he was coming off a disappointing 2012 campaign.
Lester bounced back nicely in 2013. The left-hander went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 33 starts during the regular season, and then went 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts, which included twice outdueling St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright in the World Series. Lester, a two-time All-Star, has a 100-56 record and 3.76 ERA in his eight-year career.
Lester is entering the final year of a five-year, $30 million contract he signed with the Red Sox before the 2009 season. The 30-year-old had a $13 million club option for 2014 that the Red Sox picked up soon after their World Series victory.
Kershaw — winner of two Cy Young awards and three straight National League ERA titles — and Lester don’t necessarily fall on the same tier of starting pitchers, but the Dodgers ace’s new record contract could mean more lucrative deals for other starting pitchers. Lester and reigning American League Cy Young Max Scherzer figure to be the two best starting pitchers in free agency next offseason, although Scherzer, like Lester, could sign an extension before hitting the open market.