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BOSTON -- David Ortiz believes teammate Jon Lester and the Red Sox should agree on a contract extension to keep the left-handed pitcher in Boston for a long time.
Amid speculation that the Red Sox are listening to trade offers for the ace of their pitching staff, whose contract expires at the end of the season, Ortiz hopes the reports are only rumors. The Red Sox begin a six-game homestand with a three-game set against the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday at Fenway Park; the Red Sox are in last place in the AL East, 10½ games out of first.
"They should [come to an agreement]," Ortiz said. "He's one of the best pitchers in the game. You definitely want to rebuild around a guy like him. He brings everything to the table every time he takes the mound. He takes his job very seriously. He's one of the best in the game.
"He's in the top three in the league. This is a guy who is very valuable to this ballclub. He's young. He's very talented. He's won a couple of World Series and you can't ask a guy for no more than what he's done. He's in his prime."
Red Sox manager John Farrell understands all the talk is to be expected as the trade deadline nears.
"I can tell you there's nothing imminent as it relates to the rumors you mentioned," Farrell said. "Rumors are being circulated in every clubhouse around the game right now, it's just where we are with the deadline coming up on Thursday. We try to do the best we can with keeping an open line of communication with each player that might be in a situation or attached to a situation, just to put their thoughts at rest as best we can. It's about going out and looking to win a game tonight."
Of Lester specifically, Farrell said, "Last I checked, he's still in our uniform. Again, to speculate on any kind of rumors is premature. But we recognize that that's part of the time of the year."
Ortiz has dealt with his share of negotiations during his career with the Red Sox and understands the process well. A three-time World Series champion and 2013 World Series MVP, Ortiz realizes how important Lester is to the team.
Lester is one of the most reliable pitchers of his generation. With the exception of his time undergoing treatment for cancer earlier in his career, Lester has been on the disabled list only once and he routinely reaches 200 innings pitched each season.
This market is a tough market. A guy through his career playing here who has been able to do what he's done is a keeper. He's a keeper.” -- Red Sox DH David Ortiz,
on teammate Jon Lester
"The trading rumor about my left-hander, I don't know where it came from," Ortiz said. "It might be coming from the front office or whatever. When you're planning on trading a player like that -- that caliber of a player in today's game -- you must be getting half a team from some other place.
"This is a really good player, and I still believe at some point they get into an agreement and we'll get to enjoy seeing Lester pitch for [a long time]. He's a guy you enjoy watching pitch -- there's no question about it."
Achieving a track record of success in Boston, as Lester has, is not easy for some players, and that's another reason Ortiz believes the Red Sox should keep Lester right where he is.
"This market is a tough market," Ortiz said. "A guy through his career playing here who has been able to do what he's done is a keeper. He's a keeper."
Even with the Red Sox in the basement with the trade deadline looming, Ortiz said he hopes general manager Ben Cherington buys and doesn't sell.
"We need to get better and try to win some ballgames," Ortiz said. "We're pretty much against the ropes and we don't have much room to be losing games. This is the time you go out and get something that can help you win ballgames."