As many people know, Jon Lester is the #1 starter, and likely the ace, for the Boston Red Sox. His contract, however, runs out at the end of 2014. In 2008, Lester signed a $42.75 million contract for six years. Of course, there have been some extension talks between him and the Sox.
Jon Lester has spent his 8 year career with the Red Sox, and has done them well. At the age of 22 in his first year, he posted a 7-2 record. He was a bit off the radar the next year, however, only starting 12 games, going 4-0. That World Series winning team consisted of Josh Beckett (20-7), Tim Wakefield (17-12), Daisuke Matsuzaka (15-12, when he was good), Curt Schilling (9-8), and Julian Tavarez (7-11). Lester was not even a primary starter on the roster, and look at how far he has come. I may have spoke too soon… Lester was one of the 11 pitchers who made the World Series roster. However, in the 63 innings Lester pitched that year, he recorded the sixth-most wins. That’s saying something for a team that won the World Series, because they must have been doing something good.
In his tenure with the Red Sox, lester has been named an All-Star twice (2010, 2011) and tied for fourth in Cy Young Award voting (2010). He also has a career 100 wins, with a 64.1% winning percentage.
In the postseason, Lester has a 2.35 ERA, comparatively lower than his regular season 3.76. His postseason WHIP– 1.043, is also notably lower than his regular 1.304.
At the age of 29, Lester is still in his prime. Were he to re-sign, Lester would return to the top of a rotation consisting of John Lackey (Click here to read The Case for John Lackey), Clay Buchholz, Jake Peavy, and Felix Doubront. With Ryan Dempster sitting out the 2014 season, who knows how well he will do after 2014? John Lackey underwent Tommy John surgery not too long ago, and has frequently been battling health and shoulder issues. Clay Buchholz missed approximately 39 start last season battling shoulder problems and other ailments. The veteran Jake Peavy is also only signed through 2014, and may be past his prime in his 12 year career. Felix Doubront is a bit underrated, seeing as he is the fifth man for Boston. He has only played in 86 games in his four-year MLB career (also all with Boston), but at the age of 25 he still has plenty of time to work his way up in the rotation. Doubront is eligible for arbitration in 2015, and is a free agent in 2018, so he could be with Boston for a while.
Going back to extension talks, here is what Lester said at spring training:
“If it’s something we do get done in Spring Training, great. If it’s not, I think you have to take everything as it comes. If that involves going through the season still talking or getting it done early, you have to play it by ear.” He also made clear that he stands by earlier statements that he hopes to reach a deal to stay in Boston, but did not promise a breezy negotiation. “I’m not going to go back on what I said,” Lester explained. “I said what I said from the heart and I mean it. We’ll see where it goes from there. We’ve still got a long way to go. It’s going to be a tough process.”
In an interview with CBSSports.com, Lester said:
“I don’t like change. I like being where I’ve been. I like the people. I like the surroundings. It feels like home. If it takes the first couple weeks into the season, it takes the first could weeks into the season.”
Obviously, Lester has the desire to stay with the Red Sox, and is intent on it. He is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in Boston.