That contract looks foolish now after Sabathia posted a career-worst 4.78 ERA this season.
That said, Cherington needs to think long and hard before giving Lester a Greinke- or Sabathia-like deal.
Lester rebounded quite nicely after posting a career-worst 4.82 ERA in 2012.
He started 38 games with a 3.45 ERA combined between the regular season and postseason in 2013.
Give Napoli his years
The Red Sox offered free agent Mike Napoli a $14.1 million qualifying offer Monday. Players offered a qualifying offer are given until 5 p.m. the following Monday to accept or decline.
Napoli originally agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with Boston last offseason, but his physical revealed that he had avascular necrosis in his two hips. It is the same condition that derailed Bo Jackson’s career.
The Red Sox renegotiated with Napoli, reaching a one-year contract.
The medical staff monitored Napoli’s hips and have a good read on the condition, which didn’t cause Napoli to miss any time this year.
That said, it wouldn’t be outrageous if the Red Sox offered him a two-year, $26 million deal.
Deal Dempster, Peavy?
For the first time in a long while, the Red Sox likely won’t be looking to add a starter. They likely will be looking to trade one.
They have a great deal of starting pitching depth with Lester, John Lackey, Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront, Jake Peavy, Ryan Dempster, Brandon Workman, Allen Webster, Steven Wright, Anthony Ranaudo, Matt Barnes and Rubby De La Rosa, with the last five all likely beginning the year at Triple-A Pawtucket.
The Red Sox will be most willing to deal Dempster and Peavy, both of whom are eligible for free agency after 2014.
Boston needs to find an important role on the 2014 club for Workman, 25, who posted a 2.45 ERA in three starts for Boston during the regular season. H