Red Sox hope for resolution on Jon Lester extension before Opening Day

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The Red Sox formally announced a contract extension with slugger David Ortiz last night. Could a deal with left-hander Jon Lester be next?

Well, maybe. According to Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said today that the two sides remain in touch about an extension and that he hopes for a resolution on the situation before Opening Day.

“Right now, we’re focused on the conversation this week and trying to resolve it, one way or another,” said Cherington, “without getting into the season. Hopefully, we’re all reasonable enough people that if it made sense (to keep talking), we could reconsider next weekend. But that’s not the thinking right now.”

Lester is currently due to become a free agent next offseason as part of a field which also projects to include Max Scherzer, James Shields, and former teammate Justin Masterson. The 30-year-old has previously said that he would be willing to take a discount to stay with Boston, but chances are it will likely take something in the range of five years and $100 million in order to make it happen.

Lester is coming off a resurgent season in which he posted a 3.75 ERA and 177/67 K/BB ratio over 213 1/3 regular season innings. He was also an important part of the team’s World Series run, putting up a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts.

Yankees, Mariners expressing interest in J.A. Happ

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Jon Morosi of MLB Network reports that the Yankees and Mariners are both expressing interest in Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ.

Happ is posting a 3.48 ERA and a 94/25 K/BB ratio in 82.2 innings across 14 starts and has been stingy with the hits as well. Between that, the Blue Jays’ lack of contention and the fact that Happ is in the walk year of his three-year, $36 million deal, all signs point to the Jays trading them.

In normal circumstances you might not expect the Jays to make a trade with the Yankees, but at this point it sort of doesn’t matter, does it? It’s not like Happ in New York on a couple month rental will impact the 2018 Jays too much. And, given his pending free agency, it’s not extraordinarily likely that he’d haunt the Jays from the Bronx long term either.

There’s not a ton of elite pitching currently available, but as the trade deadline approaches — a little over a month to go on that score — the talk about Happ, Cole Hamels, Francisco Liriano and others will heat up. Figure the Yankees will be linked with any and all available starters.