Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Jon Lester's agents are in Peoria at the club's spring training compound and will discuss a long-term contract extension for their client with the team soon, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Lester, 30, is currently heading into the final year of a six year, $42.25 million contract that kicked in for the 2009 season. If a new deal is not reached, he will be a free agent for the first time in his career following the upcoming season.
Both sides are saying the right things about a potential signing. Lester has told reporters he doesn't like change and that Boston "feels like home." Red Sox chairman Tom Werner says the team is "crazy about [Lester]."
A deal may not be reached immediately, but Lester says he willing to let talks play out even a few weeks into the regular season. Through the 2013 season, the inevitability of contract talks seemed to have been in the back of the mind of many across Red Sox nation. With both sides open to talking, it's possible Lester could be on his way to an early payday.
After a down year in 2012 that saw him post a career-worst 4.85 ERA, Lester came back strong last year with a 3.75 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. He has a career 4.76 ERA and has been an All Star twice. Given the way the pitching market has gone recently, Lester will likely be seeking a contract exceeding $100 million.