BOSTON -- John Farrell says he hasn't felt any "tension" among Red Sox players who are reportedly rankled by Jon Lester's contract negotiations.
ESPN's Buster Olney joined WEEI on Wednesday afternoon to provide an update on the talks between the Red Sox front office and Lester, and he was surprised at the reaction from Lester's teammates at where the negotiations sit currently.
In short, it sounds like Sox players believe their friend is being treated unfairly.
“There is a level of frustration on Lester’s side," Olney said. "And I don’t know if it's Jon himself or people around him, because I’ve never been around a negotiation that’s gotten more tension from other players on the team than this Lester talks. The frustration level of the other guys on this team on how this has played out is at a 9.5 out of 10, because they don’t get it.”
For his part, Farrell said he hasn't seen that in his clubhouse.
"I haven't noticed that," Farrell said. "I think everyone is well aware of guys' careers, where they are and what they're approaching in the offseason."
The Red Sox manager did take the opportunity to laud Lester for the way he's handled the in-season negotiations. The 30-year-old lefty is 9-7 in 17 starts this season and has an ERA of 2.92 with 115 strikeouts in 114 innings.
"I think the one thing that Jon Lester has done a great job at is keeping those situations private," Farrell said. "He's put them off to the side and focused on his work, and he's pitched outstanding. I think Jon Lester, the way he's handled this, is an example for everyone to see a guy going into his free-agent year handle it. He's done a great job at it."
The Red Sox reportedly offered Lester a $70 million deal in April. Olney explained that the team has upped its offer since then, but it's his belief that Lester will hit the open market at the end of the year.
"I think the horse is out the barn door,” Olney said. “I think it’s all but over that Jon Lester is going into free agency and I think the only way that they circumvent that is if the Red Sox do what the Phillies did two years ago with Cole Hamels and say, ‘OK, sorry about that. We’re totally wrong and we’re willing to give you a top-of-the-market deal for [$140 million-$150 million],’ and I think there’s no chance of that happening."