One of the bright spots for the Boston Red Sox so far this season has been the strong pitching performance of left-hander Jon Lester. The ace has been solid in a contract year. With the team struggling there has also been talks of the team trading the ace, as Lester is eligible for free agency after the season. According to various sources Monday, the Red Sox have re-engaged contract talks, but Lester had denied the report.
Lester has expressed his interest in remaining with the team, but both sides have not been able to work out an agreement. Negotiations with Lester’s representation stalled back in April after the team initially offered Lester $70 million over our years. But apparently the Red Sox have upped their offer to Lester, which has been denied by Lester.
Following the teams 8-5 victory of the rival New York Yankees, Lester was asked about the contract talks. He told reporters, “There has been no offer, there have been no new talks. I’ve been talking to [general manager] Ben [Cherington] all along, but that’s nothing new. There is no new offer. I don’t think they’ve started anything. I know there’s been conversation throughout the season, just different topics…Nothin about contract, numbers, anything like that.”
The team’s interest in extending a contract offer to Lester means the team is still invested in winning this season and also wants to keep Lester around as part of its future. Lester is having one of his best seasons so far. He has a 2.92 ERA in 17 games with 115 strikeouts in 114 innings and 29 starts. Many experts believe the Red Sox should entertain the idea of trading Lester to a contending team and getting the most value for him other than losing him completely to free agency once the season is over. According to ESPN Lester demand a similar contract to that of pitcher Cole Hamels which was $144 million over six years.