Now for the first time we’re learning of the contract specifics of what the Sox pitcher is looking for.
In an interview with WBZ-TV’s Dan Roche, Lester mentioned by name the contracts of Clayton Kershaw (>$30 million per year) and Justin Verlander (>$25 million per year), so it appears that his view of a hometown discount is different than most.
He restated on Sports Final his desire to stay in Boston, but also acknowledged that a deal will be tough to come by.
Lester said to Dan Roche, “It’s been a lot of fun to grow up here and I’d love to be one of those guys where, at the end, I say ‘thanks, here is my jersey. I’m going to go to the house now.’ That would be fun, but like I said, to get to that point, it’s going to be difficult. Hopefully we can get that done.”
Lester just turned 30 years old in January, but he’s a player that’s helped the Red Sox win two World Series titles in a league where left-handed power pitchers are at a premium.
“If Jon Lester is using [Kershaw/Verlander contracts] as the standard for a hometown discount, would you sign Jon Lester to a long-term contract of $25 million per year?” Rich asked Wallach.
“I think that’s a bit high, and I don’t think the Red Sox would do that either. You mentioned those two contracts, but the one that I’m looking at was signed in the last week by Homer Bailey of Cincinnati. Six years and $105 million for a .500 pitcher – he has a couple of no hitters and he’s three years younger, but what has he done?” said Wallach.
Wallach thinks six years and $25 million per for Lester is too much, but given what Homer Bailey just signed for it’s not inconceivable that Lester would receive that deal on the open market.
“I don’t consider [Kershaw/Verlander contracts] as hometown discounts. That just sounds like somebody who stayed with their team. A hometown discount is what Dustin Pedroia took,” said Rich.
“I don’t put Lester in the Verlander category by the way. I don’t think he’s worth that, or Kershaw money. But he’s worth a few million less than that. If you’re telling me $22 million that sounds about right to me,” said Wallach. “You have to figure out a way to get Lester for less than $25 and as close to $20 as you can.”
“You really think they’re going to care that much between $22 and $25 million? You think that would matter to them? Because if it does that’s just being cheap,” said Fred.
Listen below for the full discussion: