Henry, Lucchino: Lester talks tabled until offseason

Henry, Lucchino: Lester talks tabled until offseason
July 24, 2014, 11:00 am
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The Red Sox had their shot at signing Jon Lester before the start of the 2014 MLB season, but their offer was laughably low.

Now, the joke may be on them if Lester ends up elsewhere.

We know Lester does want to stay in Boston, but we also now know that neither side will negotiate a new contract until after the season.

Red Sox principal owner John Henry, in an email to the Boston Herald Wednesday night, said as much.

“I’m not going to discuss Jon’s situation out of respect for both Jon and (general manager) Ben (Cherington) other than to say that both sides have put further discussion off until after the season,” Henry wrote. “It’s clear that both Jon and our organization would like to see Jon back next year if possible.”

On Thursday morning, Red Sox president Larry Lucchino confirmed on WEEI what Henry wrote in his email.

“[Ben Cherington] may still have some continuing discussion with [agent] Seth [Levinson] on other issues or other matters, but certainly the negotiation, the parties have agreed to let’s step away and do this after the season,” Lucchino said, adding: “Jon made very clear to us that that was his preference.”

Lester is having the best season of his career, posting a 2.50 ERA and 1.12 WHIP to go with his 10-7 record. He has 142 strikeouts over 137 innings.

He's in line to make a boatload of money this offseason. The Red Sox initial offer was reportedly for four years and $70-$80 million. Now, it's not hard to imagine that Lester could make almost double the money, somewhere around five years and $140 million.

Lucchino said it is Lester's decision to hold off on the negotiations right now.

“It’s done in part out of respect for Jon Lester and his desire to postpone this until after the season,” Lucchino said. “He’s on an extraordinary roll. His last five or six games, his ERA is I don’t know, 0.90 or something like that. He’s leading this team, leading the rotation, and his very strong preference, as I think you might have heard from him just a day or two ago on national television was not to have his family and himself distracted and focused on something other than pitching and winning baseball games.”