Lester Would Take Discount To Stay In Boston

While the game's best lefty just signed a record-breaking extension, don't expect Clayton Kershaw's groundbreaking deal to impact extension talks between fellow southpaw Jon Lester and the Red Sox. Lester told reporters today, including Jason Mastrodonato of MassLive.com, that he knows he won't get free agent market value on an extension but still wants to remain in Boston:

"I understand that to stay here, you're not going to get a free-agent deal. You're not going to do it. You can't. It's not possible. You're bidding against one team. I understand you're going to take a discount to stay. Do I want to do that? Absolutely. But just like they want it to be fair for them, I want it to be fair for me and my family. If we can get to something hopefully in Spring Training, that's awesome."

Lester recalled the extension inked by Dustin Pedroia — an eight-year, $110MM deal (seven years, $100MM of new money) that was dwarfed by the 10-year, $240MM contract Robinson Cano signed with the Mariners this offseason: "That's what he wanted to do. I understand that. That's my choice, that's his choice." That agreement was reached in Spring Training. As ESPNBoston.com's Gordon Edes writes, Lester said he is hopeful that the he and the Red Sox can also work out a deal in the near future, but he wouldn't put any sort of deadline on extension talks. However, he added that he's yet to personally speak to GM Ben Cherington about an extension.

The 30-year-old Lester is currently set to earn $13MM this coming season after the Red Sox exercised a club option on him following the 2013 campaign. That option came at the tail-end of a five-year, $30MM contract extension Lester signed at age 25. Though he's headed for a significant pay increase even if he takes a hometown discount, Lester stated that the Red Sox are his No. 1 priority and added, "I want to be here 'til they rip this jersey off my back." Lester is represented by ACES, who negotiated Pedroia's extension last year.


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