The Red Sox will have another decision to make next year, as far as the next big contract goes - pitcher Jon Lester will be a free agent after next season. And that means the front office will have to decide whether to extend his contract or let him go. At least in my mind, Jon Lester is more essential than Jacoby Ellsbury to the future of the Red Sox, and I think the front office realizes that, so I don't think it should be a problem. Just in case, here are my top 4 reasons they need to get his contract sorted out.
1. He's a seasoned playoff performer. He made his first start in the clinching game of the 2007 World Series, and he was stellar in the run to this year's World Series championship. There's really not much else to say here - you could have made a case for him to win co-mvp with David Ortiz because he was that good.
2. He is the ace of this staff. Everyone thought Clay Buchholz would develop into the ace of the staff after he started 9-0, but after he went out, Lester really stepped up in the 2nd half and became the ace of the staff. He was outstanding in the 2nd half, and like I mentioned above, that continued into the playoffs.
3. He can go deep into games when needed. When the bullpen needed a night off, usually it was Jon Lester who stepped up and went deep into games and ate up innings to give the bullpen a rest. That was particularly evident in the playoffs, where he went into the 8th inning in most of his postseason starts.
4. It's hard to replace him. Simply put, if they don't extend his contract, he'll leave a big hole. Not so much with Jacoby Ellsbury, as we have Jackie Bradley Jr., who will take time to develop, but I think it will be a lot harder to replace Jon Lester. Plus, pitching wins championships, and that was on full display in the Red Sox championship run, and Jon Lester is our most important pitcher right now.
There you have it - let me know what you think on Twitter or leave a comment.