Jon Lester Wants Red Sox to Sign Josh Beckett to a Long-Term Deal Jon Lester sees Josh Beckett as a key member of the Red Sox, and hopes the team signs the 29-year-old right-hander to a long-term deal, reports.

"I think it would be a huge loss for this organization for him not to come back, obviously, on the field, a lot, too," Lester told the Web site. "But definitely in the clubhouse would be a guy missed in there."

Terry Francona recognizes that Beckett has an important role with the Red Sox.

"Beckett is important to a lot of people in there," Francona told "He is the leader of that staff. He's earned that respect, and there's a lot that comes with it. People look up to him. I think he's proud of that. He should be."

Beckett will earn $12 million this season in the last year of a three-year, $30 million deal. Francona does not believe Beckett's contract will be a distraction — for the pitcher or the team.

"I just know how he approaches things," Francona added. "I know how Theo [Epstein] approaches things. I've heard their communication, and it's not a concern."