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Jon Lester: I'll take a discount to stay with the Red Sox

Two-time All-Star Jon Lester has spent his entire eight-year career with the Red Sox. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images Two-time All-Star Jon Lester has spent his entire eight-year career with the Red Sox. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Boston Red Sox starter Jon Lester is set to hit the free agent market after the 2014 season. But if he had it his way, he would never let it get to that point.

At an awards dinner hosted by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, Lester suggested that he would take a hometown discount to stay with the Red Sox. He said he would prefer to get a contract extension completed by spring training.

“I understand to stay here you’re not going to get a free agent deal,” Lester said, according to The Boston Globe's Peter Abraham. “You’re not going to do it. It’s not possible. You’re bidding against one team. I understand you’re going to take a discount to stay.

“Do I want to do that? Absolutely. But just like [the Red Sox] want it to be fair for them, I want it to be fair for me and my family. If we can get to something in spring training, that would be awesome.”

Lester said that he has not yet spoken to Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington about an extension. But he said staying with the Red Sox was his No. 1 priority, and that he wanted to be in Boston until "they rip this jersey off my back."

The 30-year-old Lester was 15-8 last season with a 3.75 ERA. He had 177 strikeouts and 67 walks in 213 1/3 innings.

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