Jon Lester is entering his last season under contract with the Red Sox and Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal explores what it might cost Boston to re-sign Lester to a new multiyear deal. Lester will be 31 on Opening Day 2015, so MacPherson uses the age 31-34 years of Cole Hamels' contract as a model, adding a guaranteed fifth to propose a five-year, $100MM extension for Lester. While Lester re-established his value in the postseason and the Sox have been willing to lock up homegrown players, MacPherson also wonders if the club is confident enough in its young pitching depth to let Lester go rather than pay him a big salary through that would be his decline years.
Here are some more Red Sox-related items, all from Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe...
- The Red Sox currently hold all the leverage on Stephen Drew, and that leverage could become "a hammer," Abraham writes. Since Boston seems willing to wait out Drew's market, the relative lack of interest in the veteran infielder makes Abraham believe the Sox could offer Drew a one-year, "take it or leave it" type of offer if Drew is still unsigned by mid-January. If Drew turns the offer down, the Sox will be content with collecting the compensatory draft pick when Drew signs elsewhere, and Boston's desire for those valuable picks could make them pass on Drew anyway, Abraham notes.
- "There is no sign yet that the Red Sox are interested" in Masahiro Tanaka. As Abraham notes, Boston's young pitching depth and recent trend away from big-money free agent deals would seem to hint against a move, and signing Tanaka could impact a possible Lester extension.
- Abraham cites Jesse Crain as "an interesting name" for the Sox considering Crain's history with pitching coach Juan Nieves and new catcher A.J. Pierzynski. The Cubs, Astros and Rockies are a few of the teams known to have an interest in Crain this offseason. Abraham opines that the Red Sox need bullpen depth since he doesn't think Koji Uehara will be as durable following Uehara's career-high 73 games and 74 1/3 innings pitched in 2013.