|Lester speaks: Nothing to see here…Move along, people||03.09.09 at 2:03 pm ET|
Jon Lester, following a 2.1 inning outing in which he allowed four runs (just one earned) on four hits, just met with the media to discuss his contract situation, his outing, his contract situation and his contract situation. A report on Yahoo! Sports on Sunday said that the left-hander and club had agreed to terms on a five-year, $30 million deal with a $13 million option for 2014. (For some context about how such a deal would compare to other long-term deals signed by pitchers before they reached arbitration, click here.)
The left-hander seemed somewhat bemused by the corresponding inquiries, since he really had nothing to report beyond the fact that he’d like to sign a long-term deal, but none is finalized, and so he has little interest in discussing what he seemed to paint as a hypothetical.
“Until the ink is on the paper,” Lester said, “nothing is final.”
Here’s the full transcript of the conversation:
HOW’D THE OUTING GO?
It felt good to get up and down three times. We had some long innings. I felt good throwing the ball, felt good in my mechanics, I got some work in, and like I’ve said the past couple ones, I came out of it healthy. That’s the main thing.
SINCE YOU’RE HEALTHY, WILL YOU TAKE A PHYSICAL AND SIGN A CONTRACT EXTENSION?
I have no idea. I don’t know what the schedule is the next couple days. I’m sure that, when they’re ready to announce anything, if there’s something to announce, they’ll do it. I just show up and do what I’m told.
IS THERE AN AGREEMENT?
No. Not right now.
DO YOU WANT A LONG-TERM DEAL?
Yeah, I think anybody is. But now, nothing is final. Nothing is written in paper or written in stone. I just show up and do what I’m told, go where I’m told to go and that’s all I worry about.
SOME PLAYERS LIKE GOING YEAR-TO-YEAR. DO YOU PREFER A LONG-TERM DEAL?
I think anybody does, no matter what type of person it is, no matter what (Jonathan Papelbon) tells you. I think anybody prefers that stability and that guaranteed money. I’m looking forward to it if we get it done, but nothing is finalized, nothing is set in stone.
HAVE YOU STAYED OUT OF NEGOTIATIONS OR BEEN INVOLVED?
I haven’t really heard a whole lot. I just worry about showing up to the park on time and playing baseball.
IS THERE AN AGREEMENT IN PLACE THAT JUST NEEDS TO BE FINALIZED?
No idea. I just show up and do what I’m told. You guys can keep asking me. I don’t know. If we do get something done, they’ll announce it when they announce it. Until then, like I said, I show up at 9:30, go stretch and do what I’m told.
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO GET SUCH A DEAL?
It would be nice. But, like I keep saying, nothing is finalized so I can’t tell you how it feels. I’d be lying to you if I told you it felt good or bad or whatever. If and when we sign on the dotted line, you can come and ask me that question and I’ll let you know.
WHAT DID YOU WORK ON TODAY?
Getting outs. Throwing strikes. I didn’t do a very good job today of getting ahead of hitters, so I really didn’t have a chance to work on my changeup too much, but threw a couple good ones. I was happy with it. Like I said, it’s good to get the three innings, up and down a couple times, and get my work in and be healthy.
HOW HAS THE CHANGE GONE THIS SPRING?
It’s come a long ways. I feel a little bit more comfortable with it in different counts. We’re obviously out here to do well, to play well and have results. I don’t want to just go out and throw the changeup in any count, get behind guys and start walking guys and screwing around more or less. We’re trying to pick counts where it doesn’t hurt us. Today, like I said, I just didn’t have a whole lot of opportunity to do that…To their credit, they fouled off a lot of good pitches and ran the pitch count up.
LAST YEAR, YOUR STRENGTH AND VELOCITY INCREASED AS THE SEASON PROGRESSED. HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW AS COMPARED TO THEN, OR LAST SPRING?
I don’t know about velocity, but strengthwise I feel really good. Coming in last year, I was still on the uphill climb of getting my body into full shape and strength. I think that showed throughout the year, being able to carry everything over for the full year and the innings. This year, it’s definitely nice to come in and have my feet on the ground and just go, and not have to worry about a progression or being held back. Strength-wise, I feel good. More importantly, mechanically and over the rubber, I feel really good.
SHOULD WE LOOK FOR A BIG ANNOUNCEMENT TOMORROW?
You have to ask Theo. I don’t know. If I’m at the field and they announce it, all you guys can come over and ask me the questions that you’re asking today. If and when we get this thing done — hopefully we get it done in the next couple of days — but until the ink is on the paper, nothing is final.
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