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Report: Red Sox offered Jon Lester a four-year extension worth $70 million

Apr 12, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

Jon Lester Getty Getty Images

We already knew that the Red Sox and left-hander Jon Lester tabled extension talks at the end of spring training, but now we have some details about the negotiations. And it doesn’t bode well for his chances of staying in Boston.

FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Boston’s most recent offer to Lester was a four-year deal worth $70 million. This confirms reports from Rob Bradford of and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. That’s an AAV (average annual value) of $17.5 million. Lester has expressed a desire to stay in Boston and take a hometown discount, but that sounds awfully low.

According to Rosenthal, Lester rejected the offer and will not resume negotiations until after the season. Given the lucrative market for starting pitching, the Red Sox will likely have to significantly improve their offer in order to keep him from testing the free agent market.

Lester is coming off a bounceback year and owns a 2.57 ERA through three starts this season. He turns 31 next January.

  1. renaado - Apr 12, 2014 at 4:29 PM

    Wow… Truly an amazing athlete Lester is bein loyal and devoted to his team.

    • j0esixpack - Apr 12, 2014 at 9:19 PM

      $70 million over 4 years guaranteed isn’t insulting

      Nor is it what Lester can expect IF he pitches well and holds off

      It’s a $70 million gamble – risking injury or a return to subpar form\

      The Red Sox can still be in play when his contract is up – one of three things will happen

      1.) His price will rise dramatically because an incentivized Lester had a tremendous season (and presumably so do the Sox)
      2. His price will remain about the same or lower – given a good but not great season (again, advantage Sox for not outlaying the money early
      3. He gets injured or has a bad season and isn’t going to get anywhere near $70 million from anyone – again, advantage Sox for not putting the money down on him early

      So Lester may have tabled this but I think the Sox have played it just right to get the most out of Lester this season and cover themselves in case he tanks or is only average

      Well done Ben Cherrington!

  2. elwaysagenius - Apr 12, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    Yanks and dodgers are just waiting to throw big money at him.

    • mmeyer3387 - Apr 13, 2014 at 10:04 AM

      He has the right to reject any offer. However, if I were the Sox, I might pay a little more a year, but I wold not give him more years. Clearly, a contract with more years puts him on the wrong side of thirty, which would be more risk than I could take.

  3. sportsfan18 - Apr 12, 2014 at 4:43 PM

    Wow. He’s a good pitcher but he has a high opinion of himself.

    If $17.5 million a yr is so low that it stopped the negotiations, then let’s assume he’ll take $20 million a season to pitch.

    Don’t forget, that is WITH a Home Town discount.

    There are ONLY 7 pitchers in MLB with an average annual salary of $20 million or more in ALL of baseball right now.

    So, Lester thinks he should be in this neighborhood WITH a discount…

    If he thinks he should be in the top 7 in the entire league WHILE giving the Red Sox a discount, I’d move along from him.

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with paying Lester right around $18 million a yr for a contract extension, but he shouldn’t be at the $20 million level or higher.

    • Kevin S. - Apr 12, 2014 at 4:47 PM

      Or maybe he felt he’s likely to get much more than a four-year deal? Pretty much every pitcher of his caliber who has hit free agency has gotten at least a five-year deal.

    • 18thstreet - Apr 12, 2014 at 8:30 PM

      Go look at Homer Bailey’s extension. CC Sabathia’s current deal with the Yankees.

      The Red Sox offer is practically insulting. There was no way he was going to accept it.

      • mmeyer3387 - Apr 14, 2014 at 2:18 AM

        You may be correct that there examples of teams that 20 million or more to other pitchers with similar talent. However, that does not mean that the red Sox wish to nover pay. If it was me that was making the decision, maybe on a good day they could persuade me to give e him 20 million. On the contrary. I WOULD w4t

    • jrob23 - Apr 12, 2014 at 9:21 PM

      He is not worth $20 million a year. He is worth about what they offered and for the years they offered Throwing big money at pitchers for long contracts is dumb. Just because others are doing it doesn’t mean you have to. They have a loaded farm system and can plug holes in via FA. He is also on the wrong side of 30. Kudos to Red Sox management

  4. mikhelb - Apr 12, 2014 at 4:48 PM

    Imagine all the pine tar and BullFrog sunscreen he could buy with $70 MM!!

  5. henryd3rd - Apr 12, 2014 at 5:06 PM

    Take the money Jon. $17,500,000.00 per ain’t half bad. Plus that money’s guaranteed. Your agent Scott BorAss has been known to advice his clients to go through free agency; but his track record lately leaves a lot to be desired.

    • jwbiii - Apr 12, 2014 at 6:15 PM

      Lester’s agent is Josh Yates, who is now with ACES.

    • offseasonblues - Apr 12, 2014 at 7:19 PM

      He’s not a Boras client.

  6. tfbuckfutter - Apr 12, 2014 at 5:46 PM

    I don’t think that’s a particularly insulting offer.

    Last year was a nice bounce-back year but was still quite a bit below the standards he established when he was considered an ace.

    If he can post an ERA+ closer to the 135 he brought from 08-11 he’ll be worth ace money.

    If he posts an ERA+ closer to the 110 he brought last year he really won’t be.

  7. doctornature - Apr 12, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    He is gambling that he will have a great year. If he wins the gamble, expect 5-7 yr offers@ 20 mil+/yr.

    If he loses the gamble, he is looking at 4 yrs, 15 Million/yr

  8. mianfr - Apr 12, 2014 at 6:38 PM

    Has to be the years, I guess. Jon Lester is a pretty good pitcher and every team would be glad to have him, but he’s not exactly one of the game’s elites, either, and $17.5M seems pretty fair for everyone involved.

  9. damnyankee13 - Apr 13, 2014 at 3:56 PM

    too bad, its all about money.. I know the yanks have their share of greedy players but a line MUST be drawn somewhere. .With respect to his greed, I hope he has a crap year so he gets less

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