Winslow Townson , USA TODAY Sports
The 29-year-old just finished the final year of his five-year $30 million contract which included a team option for the 2014 season. Boston had until midnight ET Saturday to pick up the option.
Lester went 15-8 and donned a 3.75 ERA in regular season play, and led the team in games started (33), innings pitched (213 1/3), strikeouts (77), and quality starts (20).
Keeping up the stellar play in the postseason, he went 4-1 throughout the Red Sox run to the World Series, and won both his starts in the Fall Classic (Games 1 and 5). The workhorse surrendered only one run and nine hits in 15 1/3 innings in those starts and his sparkling 0.59 ERA was the best by a Boston pitcher making multiple starts in the World Series since Hugh Bedient in the 1912 World Series (0.50).
Since being drafted by the Local Nine in the second round of the 2002 draft, Lester has made a name for himself. He sports a 100-56 career record with a 3.76 ERA in 221 career appearances in the regular season. Accumulating 1,237 strikeouts in his eight-year career, he has permanently etched his name into the team’s history books having recorded the most-ever strikeouts by a Red Sox southpaw.
This is a fantastic move by the team. After a choppy campaign last year, he returned to form this year and as Major League Baseball saw, proved that he still has the stuff to be considered one of the most feared pitchers in the game.