Jon Lester rumors: Red Sox pitcher could earn $210 million

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Lester is in for a big payday whether he signs a contract extension with the Red Sox this offseason or he waits until free agency.

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher could earn anywhere between $146 million and $210 million when he signs his next contract, Fox Sports analyst Ken Rosenthal said on the Dennis and Callahan Show.

That would put Lester in a range between the contract Zack Greinke signed with the Dodgers and the expected value of a contract extension Clayton Kershaw would sign with the Dodgers.

The Red Sox hold a $13 million option for Lester in 2014 that will surely be exercised. The team is expected to discuss a contract extension with Lester in the hopes that they can lock up the left-hander long term. If no deal is reached, Lester can become a free agent following next season.

Lester, 29, was the Red Sox most consistent pitcher in 2013, making 33 starts and posting a 3.75 ERA with a 1.29 WHIP. He has recovered from a down year in 2012, when he had a 4.82 ERA and his worst strikeout numbers since 2008.

Lester has made at least 31 starts each of the last six seasons and posted a 3.33 ERA from 2008-11. He has also been an excellent postseason pitcher. In the 2013 playoffs, Lester has made five starts, giving up just six runs in 34⅔ innings.

While approaching $210 million seems extraordinarily unlikely for a pitcher who has not had a superstar season, a Zack Greinke type deal may be more feasible. The two pitchers are fairly close in career numbers. Though Lester will be older than Greinke was at the time of his signing, pitcher contracts continue to grow more pricy each passing year.

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