The All-Star break is here, and Jon Lester still can't escape questions about his contract situation.
Although the team has not struck a deal with the left-hander, Lester still expressed his desire to play in Boston.
“Everybody is hopeful on everything,” Lester told reporters at the All-Star game. “The right time will come when we sit down and talk about it, whether it’s tomorrow or four months from now.Like I keep reiterating to Ben [Cherington] and to ownership and to you guys, this is where I want to be.
Lester told the team he would take a "hometown discount" to stay with the Red Sox, but talks stalled after the team reportedly offered him a four-year deal for around $70 million.
The 30-year-old doesn't believe the team tried exploit his hope to stay in Boston when they made the offer in Spring Training.
“I don’t think 'exploited' is the right word; they took a shot. They put the collective offer out there, that’s where they wanted to start off,” Lester said. “We had plenty of talks after that as far as money, moving years, moving money, but never got to another offer. Like I said, Opening Day came and went, and we put it on the back burner.”
Lester doesn't want his status to distract his teammates as they try to climb back into the A.L. East race.
“The last thing we need in last place is to have a distraction," said Lester. "I don’t want Jackie Bradley Jr. to have to answer questions about my contract. That's just the last thing I need and that we need right now.”
Lester is 9-7 with a 2.65 ERA in 19 games for the Red Sox this season.