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Red Sox willing to offer six years to re-sign Jon Lester?

The Red Sox have been reluctant to offer long contracts to free agents. Will they be willing to go that extra mile to bring Jon Lester back to Boston?

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox may be the early favorites to sign their former ace Jon Lester, as Gordon Edes cites a well-placed source predicting that they will bring the lefty home to Boston on a six-year deal:

The idea that Lester will find his way back to Fenway isn't new by any means. While his camp was certainly not pleased with how negotiations for a contract extension went back in March (and boy, do the Red Sox have to be kicking themselves over that now), even after the trade that sent him to Oakland, both sides seemed to acknowledge that the ideal scenario would have him in a Red Sox uniform by spring training.

The question, however, has always been whether or not the Red Sox are willing to go as far as it takes to sign the best pitcher on the market. They have been reluctant to make lengthy offers to just about anyone since the Carl Crawford fiasco of 2011, opting instead to search for mid-range bargains the likes of which Jon Lester certainly does not represent.

If, indeed, they're willing to go up to six years, though, then the Red Sox are certainly part of the conversation. Many have pegged Lester for a deal in the vicinity of six years at $150 million, and while that would blow away Boston's largest contract to this point, they have always said they're willing to play in this newly inflated marketplace for the right player.

Is Lester that player? He's a home-grown lefty who has proven successful in Fenway Park for years, seemingly reaching the peak of his career. If Lester isn't, it's a little hard to imagine who is.

This is, of course, very much early-November chatter. Lester's market hasn't even had a real chance to form, so it's entirely possible that even six years won't be enough to land the lefty. Still, it's our first real indication that Lester is one of those players that the Red Sox are willing to go the extra mile for. That's encouraging, since there was no chance they'd be able to bring him back otherwise.