Lester: 'I mean it -- I want to stay here'

Lester: 'I mean it -- I want to stay here'
February 17, 2014, 3:00 pm
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Last month, Jon Lester revealed that he would be willing to take a hometown discount in contract extension talks with the Red Sox.
     
Monday, he didn't back off that same message.
     
"I'm not going to go back on what I said,'' said Lester after pitchers and catchers had their first official workout. "I said what I said from the heart and I mean it. We'll see where it goes from there. We still have a long way to go.''
     
Lester added that there's not much to report on negotiations. They'll take place later this spring.
     
"The status is what it is right now,'' said Lester. "I've got a year left on my contract and I'm going to play it out. As far as us talking to the front office, we haven't sat down. There's going to be a time and a place for that. But that's not really something I'm concerned about right now. I've got to be ready about getting ready for the season -- physically and mentally -- and let the guys that I pay to handle that, handle that.
     
"If it's something we do get done during spring training, great. If it's not, I think you have to take everything as it comes. If that involves going through the season and still talking, we'll just kind of play it by ear and see what happens.''     

A year ago, Jacoby Ellsbury wouldn't commit to saying that he preferred to stay in Boston, deflecting the question when it was asked. But Lester leaves little doubt about the fact that his first choice is Boston.
     
"I usually don't say things I don't mean,'' he said. "I mean it. I want to stay here. This is all I've known. I don't like change. I don't like going into new places that I have to learn. If I had to go out to Arizona right now and find my way around and meet new people and have new teammates and all -- I mean, I can deal with three or four new teammates, not a whole squad of them. That would be kind of tough for me.
     
"I meant what I said. There's no getting around it. I want to be here until the end (of my career) and see this thing out.''
     
Lester also made clear, however, that he intends to stay clear of the contract talks himself until they near a critical point.
     
"I think the biggest thing you have to watch out for,'' he said, "is getting too emotionally caught up in the process of a contract negotiation.''