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Cherington open to extension talks with Lester

Cherington open to extension talks with Lester

Cherington open to extension talks with Lester play video for Cherington open to extension talks with Lester

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Once general manager Ben Cherington gets through the busy part of his offseason, he could turn to an important longer-term issue -- making sure lefty ace Jon Lester, coming off a solid season and brilliant postseason, doesn't leave as a free agent following the 2014 season.

The Red Sox drafted Lester out of high school back in 2002 and would love to continue the relationship.

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"He's a key guy," said Cherington. "Obviously, he's been a horse for us for a long time and didn't show any signs of slowing down this October. Obviously, he's a guy we would like to keep. The timing of those conversations, usually it's a later-in-the-winter or a Spring Training thing, or after the contract [runs out]. We'll see. I think there will certainly be a willingness to have a conversation, so we'll see where it goes, but we haven't done that yet."

Letting Lester get to free agency could turn into a risk.

"We know him personally, and we know what he does on the mound," Cherington said. "And he knows us, so there's a relationship. We'll see if there is mutual interest, I don't know. But we're certainly open to having a conversation at some point."

Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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