We already knew that the Red Sox and left-hander Jon Lester tabled extension talks at the end of spring training, but now we have some details about the negotiations. And it doesn’t bode well for his chances of staying in Boston.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that Boston’s most recent offer to Lester was a four-year deal worth $70 million. This confirms reports from Rob Bradford of WEEI.com and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. That’s an AAV (average annual value) of $17.5 million. Lester has expressed a desire to stay in Boston and take a hometown discount, but that sounds awfully low.
According to Rosenthal, Lester rejected the offer and will not resume negotiations until after the season. Given the lucrative market for starting pitching, the Red Sox will likely have to significantly improve their offer in order to keep him from testing the free agent market.
Lester is coming off a bounceback year and owns a 2.57 ERA through three starts this season. He turns 31 next January.
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.