Jon Lester hasn’t taken the major step forward that most expected he would by this point in his career, but the left-hander has remained a constant towards the front of the Boston Red Sox rotation over the past few seasons. He’s seen his ups and downs, just like any other starter in the league, and yet he’s been relatively consistent in five of the past six seasons (2012 being the aberration). Boston has reportedly agreed to exercise the $13 Million option for 2014 in Lester’s contract.
The 29 year old is finishing up the final year of a five year, $30 Million deal he’d signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2009 season. Had the team declined the option Lester would have received a $250,000 buyout.
Through 30 starts on the season, Lester is 13-8 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.309 WHIP in 193.1 IP. His peripherals – 2.8 BB/9, 7.4 K/9 while holding opposing hitters to a .256/.317/.397 line – have been solid, though not spectacular. Overall, however, he’s shown a sharp turnaround from the disappointing results he’d seen last season.
For Boston, the decision to exercise the option had to have been an easy one. Lester is still relatively young and has been mostly consistent across his career, posting a WAR of 3.0 or better in five of the past six seasons (assuming he inches past that mark in his next start or two this year). In a contract season with the potential of a significant deal on the line (a 30 year old Lester will certainly attract some interest on the open market should he reach free agency at the end of next season) it seems as though he’d be a safe bet to produce such numbers again in 2014.