Three reasons (plus 1) to extend Jon Lester right now

Jim Monaghan
Contributing writer

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Among the items on Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington's plate this off-season is the matter of what to do with Jon Lester, whose contract expires after the 2014 season. Here are three reasons (plus 1) why Boston needs to extend him...NOW!

1 - He's left-handed. OK, so that's not exactly an earth-shattering revelation, but the fact remains that left-handed starters are always in demand, and the Red Sox currently have one of the best in the game.

2 - He's durable. Since 2008, Lester has never made fewer than 31 starts. During that same time period, he's pitched at least 200 innings with the exception of 2011 when he logged 191.2 innings.

3 - He's won 15 or more games in every year since 2008 with the exception of 2012. And, he comes up big in the post-season. In thirteen post-season games, Lester is 6-4 with a 2.11 earned run average.

Plus 1 - should Lester actually get to free agency after the 2014 season, he stands to be perhaps THE premier pitcher available. Extending Jon Lester right now for 5 years at $20-21 million per year - while not exactly pocket change - would lock him up for what could very well be the prime of his career. And while those numbers may seem a little lofty now, based upon what he could possibly command in the free agent market, 5/100 million could very well be a team-friendly contract by comparison.

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