Adding some fuel to the Jon Lester trade rumor fire, Rob Bradford has a source saying that the Red Sox and Lester have not begun to discuss an extension.
With just two years left on Jon Lester's initial extension, signed back in the 2008-2009 offseason, now would typically be prime territory for extension talks. After 2013, after all, there's no obligation from the team (Lester's final year is a team option), and for Lester's part he would be just one year away from the oh-so-tempting open market. Unfortunately, Lester's 2012 season has thrown a kink in things.
Outlier seasons never prove fertile ground for contract discussions. After an unusually good season, the team will be hesitant to pay for what could well be an aberration. Following a bad season, a player will struggle to believe they're getting what they're really worth, and a team will be hesitant to commit long-term to a player who just showed their worst side.
Lester, unfortunately for all parties involved, chose probably the worst time to fall apart. Or near enough. With just two years left on his deal, he and the Sox will be forced into brinkmanship on his contract, with nothing likely to happen until we get into that tense last year where negotiations can prove so difficult.
This won't force the Sox to dump Lester off on anyone who comes calling, of course. As much as the next two years aren't Boston's prime territory for competition, they are hardly without potential. But it still might incentivize the move. After all, if they don't end up with anything more than a draft pick after 2014 when a name like Wil Myers was on the table (even if not in a straight-up swap), they'll be feeling awfully bad about it.