Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said Thursday the team and lefthanded pitcher Jon Lester have put contract talks off until after the season, when Lester is eligible to become a free agent.
“It’s done in part out of respect to Jon Lester and his desire to postpone this until after the season. He’s on an extraordinary roll these last five or six games, his ERA is, I don’t know, 0.90 or something like that, he’s leading this team and leading the rotation, and his very strong preference is that – I think you may have heard from him just a day or two ago on national television – was to not have his family and himself distracted and focused on something other than pitching and winning baseball games,” Lucchino said in an appearance on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan program.
Both sides have indicated several times they did not want contract talks to disrupt the season, although the situation has been a frequent topic among fans and media. Lester, in the final year of a five-year, $30 million extension he signed in 2009, is making $13 million this season. He rejected an initial offer, reportedly for four years and $70 million, from the Red Sox in March.
He is having one of his best seasons with a 10-7 record, 2.50 ERA and a 1.12 WHIP. Opponents are batting .238 against him.
“There will be an opportunity to resume negotiations with Jon and his agent, they have made that abundantly clear to us,” Lucchino said, later adding, “There can be negotiations after the season is over and before the free agency period begins if he’s a member of our team.”