Jon Lester told Rob Bradford of WEEI.com that the Red Sox have not talked to him about negotiating a long-term contract extension as he enters the final guaranteed year of his current deal.
Of course, after paying him $11.625 million for this season the Red Sox will hold a $13 million team option on Lester for 2014, so there’s no real sense of urgency.
With that said, if the Red Sox are confident that Lester will bounce back from a career-worst season they could certainly save some money by trying to lock him up long term now. After four straight seasons with a sub-3.50 ERA his ERA ballooned to 4.82 ERA last year as Lester saw his strikeout rate plummet and allowed opponents to hit .273 off him.
The Phillies and Red Sox appear intent on pursuing free agent first baseman Carlos Santana, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi reports. Santana rejected a one-year, $17.4 million qualifying offer from the Indians on Thursday and is expected to draw widespread interest on the market this winter. The Mets, Mariners, Angels and Indians could make a play for the infielder, though no serious offers have been made this early in the offseason.
Santana, 31, is coming off of a seven-year track with the Indians. He batted .259/.363/.455 with 23 home runs and 3.0 fWAR last season, making 2017 the fourth-most valuable year of his career to date. Although he was primarily stationed at first base over the last year, he could step back into a hybrid first base/DH role with the Red Sox, who are hurting for infield depth with Hanley Ramirez still working his way back from shoulder surgery.
As for Santana’s other suitors, the Mariners are far less likely to pursue a deal after trading for Ryon Healy last Wednesday. Neither the Mets nor the Phillies have a DH spot to offer the veteran infielder, and the Phillies’ Rhys Hoskins appears to be blocking the way at first base. Then again, Santana may not find a more enticing offer outside of Cleveland, where Edwin Encarnacion might otherwise be the club’s best option at first base. During the GM meetings, Indians’ GM Mike Chernoff said he “love to have both [Santana and Jay Bruce] back” in 2018, but hasn’t backed up that love with any contract talks just yet.