NOV. 1, 5:10pm: The Red Sox have officially announced the exercise of the option, by way of a team press release.
NOV. 1, 4:32pm: WEEI.com's Rob Bradford tweets that the Red Sox have now officially picked up Lester's option.
SEPT. 9, 11:11pm: The Red Sox are "all but certain" to pick up Lester's option, MLB.com's Ian Browne writes. But Browne also reports that the team won't lock itself into that decision until after the season is over.
9:09pm: The Red Sox have agreed to pick up their $13MM 2014 option on starting pitcher Jon Lester, Anthony Witrado, formerly of the Sporting News, tweets. The option comes at the end of a five-year, $30MM deal that covered the 2009 through 2013 seasons. Lester is guaranteed a $250K buyout if Boston does not pick up his option.
Lester has a 3.86 ERA with 7.5 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 193 1/3 innings in 2013. Those aren't Cy Young-type numbers, but the decision to pick up Lester's option still looks like it should be an easy one for the Red Sox, since Lester is relatively young (29) and fairly consistent from year to year. (He posted a 4.82 ERA in 2012, but his peripherals were very consistent with those of years past.) Lester has posted a WAR north of 3.0 in all of the last six seasons and appears to be a good bet to do it again in 2014, meaning he's easily worth what is essentially a one-year, $12.75MM contract.
Steve Adams and Jeff Todd contributed to the post.