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.
Earlier this offseason the Rays traded away franchise player Evan Longoria. Over the weekend they traded starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins and designated All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment. These were clearly financially driven moves, and now the Rays sport a payroll of less than $70 million. The club’s offseason moves prompted Longoria to say that he feels sorry for Rays fans.
If you asked Rays brass, I’m sure they’d make strong statements defending all of these moves while offering evidence-light arguments that, yes, they truly are interested in fielding a competitive team in 2018. They would likely react VERY angrily to any suggestion that they are tanking this year. Teams never admit that they’re tanking.
In other news, the Rays announced a new blog: