Red Sox hurler Jon Lester said today that extension talks could open back up “tomorrow or four months from now,” but Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports that the former option seems highly unlikely. In fact, says Heyman, the likeliest outcome now is that no serious run at a new deal will take place until after the season.
- Indeed, in other comments today, Lester sounded like he is fairly committed to waiting for further talks, as WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford reports. Lester says that his primary concern has been and remains the avoidance of distraction: “I’ve sat down and talked to Ben [Cherington] about that and they understand.” He continued: “Like I said before, I’ve expressed it to them, this is where I want to stay. Regardless of whether we do it tomorrow or we wait until the end of the season, this is where I want to be. Hopefully when we get to the end of the season we can figure something out and get it done.” Of course, as Lester noted, his desire may remain the same, but if he reaches free agency, the club will “just have more competition.”
- Lester tells Heyman that he was “thrown off” by the club’s recent efforts to re-open discussions during the year. “Since day one I was told [not negotiating in season] was the policy,” said Lester. “The way I think is pretty black and white. They tell me one thing, and we’re hell-bent on that [so to change gears] throws me off.”
- Though the lefty says that “the conversation had picked up” when the Red Sox reached out most recently, he noted that he “never received a [new] offer.” Boston was, however, at least willing to move its offer into the nine-figure range, Heyman reports. Now, team sources tell Heyman that the club understands and intends to honor Lester’s preference to table discussions for the time being.
- Regarding the initial reported four-year, $70MM offer made by the club, Lester expressed no hard feelings, as Bradford reports. “I don’t know if ‘exploited’ is the right word, but they’re business men,” he said. “They didn’t get to own the Boston Red Sox by being stupid with money. … I think they just took a shot and like you said, Larry and Ben and the collective group put that offer out there and that’s what they wanted to start at. We had plenty of talks after that as far as moving money and moving years, moving money, but never got to another offer … .”
- Lester also made clear that he understands his market position: “This is business and [they] have a business to run, and when you think about it, I have a business to run,” he said. “I have to run myself. I get it.” He emphasized that discussions have been “amicable,” saying that “I’ve had great, four or five, maybe six conversations with Ben over the last couple of months.”