The Boston Red Sox haven’t given up hope that they can come to terms on a contract extension with pitcher Jon Lester before the ace becomes a free agent.
Lester’s contract will expire this winter, and his impending free agency has been a hot-button topic among the 2014 Red Sox storylines. Both sides have said they’d like to find common ground on a contract extension, but any of those talks seemed to fizzle out prior to the beginning of the regular season.
Red Sox CEO and president Larry Lucchino appeared on WEEI on Thursday morning, however, and admitted the club will likely try to resume talks with the Lester camp at some point this season. Lucchino wouldn’t comment on any sorts of talks, but he did say there have been talks since the beginning of spring training and more conversation is on the way.
He also wouldn’t comment much on the club’s reported four-year, $70 million offer to Lester other than to say it’s “a mistake to discuss the status of ongoing negotiations as it is a mistake to get fixated on an opening offer.”
Lester certainly has pitched like a guy who’s in line for a hefty pay raise. Lester’s record is just 5-6, but that’s certainly not indicative of how he’s pitched this season. The 30-year-old has logged 73 innings in 11 starts and has a 3.45 ERA to go along with a 1.23 WHIP, and ppponents are hitting just .252 against the left-hander. Lester’s 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings would also mark the highest rate of his career. That’s all coming off of a postseason in which Lester went 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in five starts as Boston ultimately won its third World Series in a decade.
The Red Sox picked up a team option for Lester prior to the 2014 season. He’s currently in the final year of a reported five-year, $30 million extension signed in March of 2009.