That's one way to negotiate.
In more good news for Boston, Lester's agents — the Levinson brothers — are gaining a reputation for "persuading clients to take under-market-value contracts if they’re happy where they are," according to the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo.
The Sox have already engaged in talks with Lester about an extension, and the news that his agents are supportive of his desire to stay in Boston supplements the assumption that the left hander won't be hitting the open market next winter.
Lester, 30, has said Boston "feels like home," and the team is reportedly "crazy about him," so perhaps all of the transparency in their negotiations is because both sides assume a deal will get done before Lester is eligible for free agency after the season.
He would be one of the most sought-after pitchers on the market. As things stand now, Lester would be joined by Tigers ace Max Scherzer and the Royals James Shields as the premier starters in free agency next winter, but Scherzer is expected to at least consider an extension from Detroit, and there's an outside chance that Shields could do the same in Kansas City. Lester, and his career 3.76 ERA, would likely stand to earn a massive payday on the open market, but the left hander doesn't appear to value his potential earning power as much as he values his place in the Red Sox organization.
Over the last six seasons, Lester has failed to throw over 200 innings only once — 191⅔ in 2011 -- — and has averaged 205 innings a season with a 3.65 ERA since 2008.