Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox reportedly have a wide gap to close in contract negotiations.
The Red Sox offered Lester a four-year contract worth between $70 million and $80 million, according to WEEI.com and FOXSports.com. Lester reportedly rejected the offer, and the sides aren’t expected to resume contract talks until the offseason.
Lester, who is being paid $13 million in 2014, is in the final year of a contract he signed before the 2009 season. The 30-year-old is scheduled to hit free agency after this season, though both he and the Red Sox have expressed interest in signing a long-term extension.
The Red Sox will need to up the ante if they want to re-sign Lester. While Lester has expressed a willingness to accept a hometown discount, re-signing the veteran left-hander still figures to be an expensive endeavor, especially since he’ll be among the best free-agent pitchers available if he tests the open market.
Lester is coming off a 2013 campaign in which he went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 33 starts before again thriving in the postseason. Lester, who was drafted by the Red Sox in 2002, is 1-2 with a 2.57 ERA in three starts this season.