Jon Lester has definitely turned the corner and become one of the best left-handed starting pitchers in the MLB today. After a very inconsistent year in 2012, Lester has taken his performance to the next level, and if he keeps it up, he will be in for a big payday at some point this season.
Lester is due to be a free agent at the end of this season, but has made it extremely clear that he wants to stay and finish his career with the Boston Red Sox. He looked great against the Baltimore Orioles; Boston lost, but Lester had almost no run support, which didn’t help him one bit. He has made himself into a leader on the pitching staff, and for the team as well.
He has become that ace that every contending team needs to go far in the postseason. It was recently announced that any contract talks were going to be put on pause for the time being, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. By all accounts, Lester’s agents and the Red Sox are almost on the same page; they don’t want these talks to be a distraction to Lester’s performance going forward.
One thing that can’t be noticed is Lester’s body language over the last year or so. He just seems more confident, more secure, and doesn’t let an umpire’s bad call get him too fired up. In the past, it appeared to happen a lot that he would get angry or frustrated, and that seemed to carry over to the next few batters.
My guess is that this will be settled early in the season, somewhat like the Dustin Pedroia extension. Boston needs their horse of a lefty in the rotation for years to come.