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Red Sox to sign Lester through 2013

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester finalized a $30 million, five-year contract on Sunday, a deal that could be worth $42.75 million over six seasons if Boston exercises a club option for 2014.

The Red Sox announced the new deal Sunday for Lester before saying the team had ceased negotiations with outfielder Jason Bay, whose contract expires after this season.

"It's become clear that because of the unusual marketplace, we're not going to get anything done during spring training," general manager Theo Epstein said of the Bay talks, according to MLB.com. "But both sides have committed to maintaining good dialogue throughout the course of the season.

"I think there's a desire to get something done on both sides, there's just a mutual recognition right now that it's going to be next to impossible to get something done."

Lester gets $1 million this year, $3.75 million in 2010, $5.75 million in 2011, $7,625,000 in 2012 and $11,625,000 in 2013. Boston has a $13 million option for 2014 with a $250,000 buyout.

If Lester finishes first or second in Cy Young Award voting during any of the next five seasons and is traded, the option would be voided.

"We're extremely happy to have gotten this done," Epstein said. "Jon is already a big part of this organization, and we project him to play an even greater role going forward."

The 25-year-old lefty, after being diagnosed with cancer in 2006, came back to go 4-0 in 2007 and then 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA last season. He threw 210 1/3 innings and made 33 starts -- both team highs -- in his first full season in the major leagues.

Last season, Lester was among the league leaders in shutouts, tied for first with two; in ERA (fourth); in starts (tied for fifth); in innings pitched (tied for seventh); and wins (tied for eighth).

Lester also threw the 18th no-hitter in Sox history in a 7-0 win over Kansas City on May 19, 2008, at Fenway Park. That made him the first Red Sox left-hander to toss a no-hitter since Mel Parnell against the White Sox on July 14, 1956.

Bay, acquired late last season from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a three-team trade that sent Manny Ramirez to the Los Angeles Dodgers, batted .293 with nine home runs in 49 games with the Red Sox.

"You play for six years and you earn the right to be a free agent, and you don't want to sell yourself short," Bay said, according to MLB.com. "That doesn't mean that there doesn't have to be some concessions. But you put yourself in this position, and I think it's in my best interest to kind of explore."

Bay, 30, would be eligible for free agency at the end of the season, the last year of a four-year, $18.25 million deal he got with the Pirates.

"I've got a year left," Bay said. "If something comes up that makes sense for me, I'll definitely consider it."

Lester is the third homegrown Red Sox player recently to sign a long-term contract. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and first baseman Kevin Youkilis came to terms this offseason, and closer Jonathan Papelbon agreed to a one-year deal in January.

"It's a great organization. Besides the Yankees, it's the most storied organization in baseball," Lester said.

"The coolest part about this place is that you come up through the system with guys like Pedroia and Youkilis and Pap, and it's fun to see them succeed, and be on the same team, and win a World Series together, and hopefully win some more."

Lester said that with contract pressures now behind him, he and his family are free to relax, and he can continue working toward a World Series title with his teammates.

Manager Terry Francona has watched Lester's progression over the last few seasons since the left-hander made his big league debut June 10, 2006, and his battle with cancer, which began later that summer.

"I don't know if any of us know where he's going to end up," Francona said. "I don't think he's ever going to stop wanting to get better. We already think he's pretty good."

Francona said Lester was one of baseball's best pitchers in the second half of last year.

"We all look to his size, his delivery, his work ethic, as somebody who can be very durable," he said. "He's a competitor on the field, he's a great kid off the field, as everybody knows."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.