ST. PETERSBURG -- With Jon Lester rediscovering his ace form the last few weeks, it has become all but certain the Red Sox will pick up his $13 million option for next season.
Though Sporting News writer Anthony Witrado tweeted Monday night that the Sox had already agreed to pick up the option, MLB.com has confirmed through a baseball source that such a decision won't be made definitively until after the season.
Considering the risk for injury, the Red Sox don't generally pick up options for the following year until the current season is over.
If Lester is healthy, picking up his option is a no-brainer.
Consider that the team will pay Ryan Dempster $13.25 million in 2014. Dempster is a middle-of-the-rotation pitcher while Lester is a No. 1 or 2 pitcher.
It will be interesting to see if the Sox try to work out an extension with Lester during the offseason to guarantee his services beyond the '14 season.
Lester, 29, has spent his entire career with the Red Sox, going 98-56 with a 3.78 ERA. He is a two-time All-Star.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Brownie Points, and follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne.