Jon Lester: Playing for Red Sox ‘all I’ve known, all I want to know’
|12.06.13 at 1:25 am ET|
While longtime teammate Jacoby Ellsbury is a Red Sox no more, Jon Lester remains hopeful that his teammate’s departure will not serve as a prelude to his own. The 29-year-old left-hander, who said that he didn’t feel any unusual wear and tear following a year in which he logged 248 combined innings in the regular season and October, suggested that he looks forward to talking with the Sox about the possibility of an extension before he reaches free agency — for which he could be eligible following the 2014 season.
“Obviously it’s crossed my mind. But it’s not something that’s really set in for me yet. I feel like I’ve got one more year here and we’ll go from there,” Lester said of his potential free agency on WEEI’s Hot Stove Show. “I’m sure there will be some form of communication [with the Sox about a new contract], I would imagine probably in spring training, hopefully in spring training and hopefully during the season sometime if not in spring training. Obviously Boston’s my home. This is all I’ve known. This is all I’ve become accustomed to, and all I want to know. My family enjoys it up there. I enjoy playing up there. There’s a lot of factors in it. At the same time, kind of like Jacoby, there’s a business side of everything and you’ve got to look at it that way. Same thing with the Red Sox. … Sometimes you have to part ways. Hopefully that’s not the case when it comes down to us here in the future.”
Lester has already shown a willingness to pass on top dollar and delay free agency in order to sign a long-term deal with the Sox. After a breakout 2008 season in which he went he went 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA, Lester agreed to a five-year, $30 million deal prior to the start of the 2009 season that bought out a year of his free agency and gave the Sox a team option on another (the $13 million option for 2014 under which he’ll play next year).
He suggested that it wasn’t hard to reconcile himself to the idea of having done something other than maximize his earnings, and that he’d be willing to make the same bargain again.
“Obviously there are guys who have the ability to go year to year and trust themselves, trust the fact that they’re going to be healthy or they’re going to put up big numbers or whatever. I trust those things, but at the same time I like security. I like knowing that I have this in case something unforeseen or something career-ending — that hopefully doesn’t happen — you have that to fall back on. I think that was a big weight off my shoulders for me,” Lester said of his first long-term deal. “You sit down with your agent, sit down with your family and realize, yeah, there’s possibly millions of dollars that you left on the table. But at the same time, you’re secure. Your family is secure. You’re with the team and you don’t have to worry about anything. And the same thing will go here in the next couple months or the next however many months. If you sign a deal before you become a free agent, you’re probably most likely leaving money on the table. Like [Dustin Pedroia — who signed an eight-year, $110 million extension that will run from 2014-21], he left a ton of money on the table, but this is where he wants to be the rest of his career. He sacrificed that to be here, to be a Red Sox. I think when you get down to that point, you have to weigh those options. You have to sit down and decide. We’ll obviously hopefully have those talks here the next couple months.”
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