Jon Lester is far from a New England native. He was born and raised just south of Seattle. He met his wife in South Carolina. His Southern twang gives away the roots he's put down in Georgia, where he bought a new house this offseason.

But more than 10 years have elapsed since the Red Sox drafted Lester out of high school, since they made him the team's first draft pick under the John Henry-led ownership group. It was with the Red Sox that Lester got to the major leagues. It was with the Red Sox that Lester fought and beat cancer.

Pitching for the Red Sox is all Lester has ever known -- and, all else being equal, the 30-year-old lefty would like to keep it that way.

"I want to stay here," he said. "This is what I've known. I've grown up in this organization. I've had plenty of good times and plenty of bad times here. I enjoy it. My family loves it here. All my son talks about is going home to Boston. That's what he thinks is home. ...

"I want to be here until they have to rip this jersey off my back."
What remains to be determined is whether Lester and the Red Sox can come to terms on a deal that satisfies both sides. Lester indicated a willingness -- an eagerness, even -- to sit down during spring training and hammer out an extension, just the way the two sides did in spring training in 2009.

The Red Sox picked up their $13 million option on Lester two days after the World Series, ensuring they'd have him pitching at the front of their rotation for the 2014 season. Barring an extension, he'll be a free agent next winter -- at which point teams will offer him wheelbarrows full of money.