BOSTON (CBS) – Jon Lester says he’s willing to take a hometown discount on his next contract to stay with the Boston Red Sox.

“These guys are my number one priority,” Lester told reporters at the 75th annual dinner of the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Thursday night.

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“I want to be here until they have to rip this jersey off my back.”

Lester said he’s well aware of the mega deals signed recently by Masahiro Tanaka (seven-year, $15- million with the Yankees) and Clayton Kershaw (seven-year, $215-million with the Dodgers)

“As a player it’s good for baseball,” Lester said of those deals, but added, “I want to win and if that means taking a (Dustin) Pedroia deal where you stay here for less money to be happy and be competitive and win every year, let’s do it. Let’s get it done.”

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Lester made $11.625 million last season, the last of a five-year, $30-million deal.

The Red Sox exercised a $13 million club option for this season.

Lester said he hopes to get something done in the spring so they don’t have to worry about his status being a distraction during the season.

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“I’m glad he wants to be here and we want him to be here. So, we’ll see where that leads to,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington told reporters Thursday night.