The Boston Red Sox have tabled extension talks with left-hander Jon Lester, according to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe. GM Ben Cherington spoke to reporters this morning about the situation, noting that he was hopeful that the two sides could resume negotiations in the near future (via Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal):
“We’re going to hit the pause button,” Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said. “We’ve had a lot of good dialogue and shared information. Jon and (agent) Seth (Levinson) have made a lot of good arguments for their position. We understand their position. We feel like we have good arguments for our position. Our desire remains to keep him here past 2014. We weren’t able to find something that worked for everyone during this spring training. In the interest of allowing him to get ready for Monday and let the team get ready for Monday, we’ll hit the pause button and hope that we can pick up the conversation again at some point.”
Lester, 30, will become a free agent after this season if the sides are unable to reach a new deal that would keep him in Boston for the forseeable future. The southpaw has stated that he is willing to give the Sox a hometown discount in negotiations, and that he is willing to talk about a contract during the season if he felt that the sides had made considerable progress during spring training. He is one of many soon-to-be free agent starters to discuss an extension with his current team this winter, joining Homer Bailey, who signed a six-year deal to stay with the Reds, and Max Scherzer and Justin Masterson, who were unable to reach new deals with their clubs.
In eight seasons with the Red Sox, Lester is the owner of a lifetime 100-56 record and 3.76 ERA in 221 appearances (220 starts). He was a key member of Boston's championship team last season, posting a 15-8 record and 3.75 ERA during the regular season before going 4-1 with a 1.56 ERA in five postseason starts.