Opinion on Lester hasn't changed despite 0-2 start
Guessing we'll see Jon Lester sign an extension before the season is over. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Ben Whitehead Contributing Writer
Back in December, I provided my thoughts on what kind of extension we would see the Red Sox offer Jon Lester. You can read that here.
Now that we're into the new season and have heard more rumors on the supposed extension talks, I'd like to re-hash those thoughts. Here's what we know:
-Lester has said he would take a "hometown discount" to remain in Boston
-Boston, allegedly, would like to re-sign Lester without him testing free agency
That's about it.
After the two sides reportedly tabled conversations for now, the reports have diminished. Lester has pitched twice this season, suffering losses both times. Hard to blame him, though, as he has pitched at least seven innings both starts and has a 2.51 ERA, 14 strikeouts and just two walks.
Is he the ace Boston hopes to have for the next four-to-five years? Perhaps. And that's where the conversation has to finish; where Ben Cherington and Co. must decide how they are going to answer the question.
Lester being extended is good for multiple reasons - 1) He provides you a veteran on staff, who clearly can be a top of the rotation pitcher; 2) He will be good to have around for the younger pitchers soon making their way to Boston from the Minors; and 3) You're not going to get rid of Lester and bring in someone much better.
What contract would I give Lester? I'm sticking with my four-year, $22 million per year offer, with a option for a fifth year. This allows Cherington and John Farrell stability with the pitching staff. It also allows Lester to go out every fifth day for the next four or five years and just pitch. I believe we'll see this deal done before the season is up, similar to Dustin Pedroia's deal last year, which was signed July 24.
It's win-win for everybody and Lester can be reevaluated later in his career. At that point, hopefully he'll have another World Series ring or two and will want to finish out his career where it all began: In Boston.
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