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Jon Lester: Talks ‘very, very positive … our door is always open’ 03.29.14 at 12:29 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester discussed the “pause” that the Red Sox and he agreed to take in negotiations of a potential contract extension, suggesting that he found the talks “very encouraging,” that he still wants to remain with the Sox beyond the expiration of his current contract at the end of this year but that the two sides felt that, with Opening Day upon them, it made sense to resume talks at a subsequent time. Lester, who’d said talks would have continued into the season had they reached “the 5-yard line,” said that they had not reached the “red zone,” thus resulting in the decision.

Still, the pitcher said that the “door is always open” to talks during the season, but that he’d be less directly involved in them in deference to his in-season responsibilities. He characterized the dialogue as “amicable,” and showed no evidence of pessimism about the potential for a deal ultimately getting done.

Here is a transcript of some of his remarks:

On reaching the decision to ‘pause’ talks:

“We talked yesterday about it. That was a collective kind of statement from both sides. At the point where I felt like if we continued it would be a distraction. Just felt like for right now, that’s probably the best decision for both sides.”

Is there any disappointment that, given your interest in getting a deal done, you haven’t accomplished that yet?

“I don’t know if disappointing is the right word. I think any time you go into a position like this, you have to prepare yourself for something to not happen. Like I’ve said from the beginning, both sides, it was very encouraging, the stuff that was going on, but like I said and like Ben said, where we’re at right now isn’t a good time to continue. Just put it on pause for now and see where we go from there.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: contract extension, Jon Lester, spring training 2014,
Jacoby Ellsbury, Larry Lucchino suggest openness to negotiating extension 02.14.13 at 3:14 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — Jacoby Ellsbury appeared in the Red Sox clubhouse on Thursday and addressed the media for what could be the start of his final season in Boston. The 29-year-old is entering camp for the sixth time on a one-year contract, set to receive a $9 million salary for 2013. After the year, unless he signs an extension, the 2005 first-round pick of the Red Sox will have a chance to test the open market for the first time.

That reality created an inevitability. The question of Ellsbury’s future, and of his desire to remain in Boston long-term, was put forth early.

Ellsbury downplayed the significance of being in a contract year, suggesting that his goals were to be healthy and help the team win after last year’s bitterly disappointing campaign.

“I think I’€™m focused on playing and helping the team win,” he said. “Any question about contract or anything like that, it’€™s best just to call my agent and do it that way.”

He did allow that he would be open to discussing an extension with the Sox should they see fit to do so.

“I love playing here. I love the fans. And I appreciate the red sox obviously giving me an opportunity earlier in my career in the draft when they selected me. I love playing here,” he said. “Any contract stuff like that, just kind of like I said last year, if there’€™s anything that comes on the table, I’€™ll be presented with something and we’€™ll go from there. Anything as far as that, my whole thing is just winning ballgames. I love the atmsosphere, the fans. There will be times during the season when you’€™re worn down a little bit and you can step on the ballfield and you get re-energized. Just that competitive atmosphere. You have to win and that’€™s great for all of us, that environment. I thrive in that environment.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: contract extension, Jacoby Ellsbury, Larry Lucchino,
Gonzalez’ agent: Extension agreement with Sox expected in April 03.22.11 at 5:05 pm ET
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FORT MYERS, Fla. — John Boggs, the agent for first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, said that he and fellow Gonzalez representative Tony Cabral met with Red Sox GM Theo Epstein and Assistant GM Ben Cherington on Tuesday to resume their December conversation about an extension for the former Padres star.

Boggs said that the Sox want Gonzalez to demonstrate the health of his shoulder once regular season games get underway, and that there remain relatively minor issues — including contract language and both performance and award incentives — to work out. That said, he said that he is entirely confident that a deal will get done along the lines of the parameters that were discussed by the Sox and Gonzalez prior to the completion of the 4-for-1 trade that brought the first baseman to Boston from San Diego.

“At the end of the day everything has been as expected. We sat down and discussed where Adrian is at. I just think it’s going to move very positively in the direction of probably trying to get something done sometime in April,” said Boggs. “The main thing is the health issue. When he’s seen to be every day playing competitively in a championship season I think they’re going to have a degree of comfort and obviously that will be a time to probably get something done.

“Prudently probably on their part, they just want him, to see him play back-to-back-to-back-to-back, get into the season, then say, ‘€˜OK, we’€™re good to go,’€™” Boggs added. “I would anticipate something around April. When in April, I don’€™t know. It could be beginning, middle, end, but that’€™s it. That’€™s really the parameters we’€™re looking at. If something drags it on past that, then yeah, we’€™ll probably have to revisit a lot of things, but I don’€™t anticipate that at all.”

Of course, twas not always thus. For a time during the negotiations with the Sox in Dec., Gonzalez and Boggs were ready to walk when the Sox suggested that they were unwilling to meet what the first baseman declared to be his asking price. However, once the Sox said that they were willing to meet the first baseman’s asking price, he agreed to use that figure as the frame of reference for further negotiations once spring training and the season got underway. He did not feel a need to let the contract situations of either Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder — a pair of first basemen who could push the market for the position north — impact his talks with the Sox.

“Adrian in his mind, he knew what it was going to take, bottom line. He wasn’€™t concerned with chasing after or breaking records. He just wants to be fairly compensated,” said Boggs. “Obviously we walked away at their last offer and that wasn’€™t it. He had a bottom line and he felt that he had cut it to the bone and then when that wasn’€™t met, we were ready to get up. At that point, it was pretty significant money also but at the end of the day, he gave his word that wasn’€™t going to play. The market was going to be the market, as it was in December. Yes, you think that you’€™re giving away something that might or might not happen.

“In the end, I think he’€™s said it the clearest, you can be very wealthy and play for a team that you don’€™t want to play for or you can be very wealthy and play for a team that you want to play for and is in competition every year. that’€™s really what his goal was. To be treated fairly and be compensated fairly and be on a ballclub that is year after year competitive. I think that was his goal and after that, if he feels that it’€™s fair financially, he’€™s good to go.’€

In the end, the two sides decided that the best way to move the deal forward — without getting bogged down by potential health-related contingencies — was to conclude a deal once Gonzalez had demonstrated his complete return to health following a surgery that was meant to ensure that the first baseman would be in position to play the 2011 season — and beyond — at full health.

“We knew there were going to be caveats, there were going to be contingencies because he was coming off of surgery. It wasn’€™t a hangnail. It was a shoulder,” said Boggs. “You can think of the best scenarios and the worst scenarios and whatever, but the practicality of it was, hey, we’€™re not going to in essence get anything really decided until we see him play in a championship season and he’€™s good to go.”

Boggs — a third cousin of former Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs — said that while he does anticipate that Gonzalez faces some transitional issues in going from a relatively quiet baseball existence to a new team in a baseball-crazed town and new league, his client is uniquely positioned to handle that transition.

“I think Adrian has the demeanor, the personality, where I don’€™t think that’€™s going to get to him at all,” Boggs said. “Adrian has always said, hey, we’€™re playing a game and if you can’€™t win, there’€™s no point in playing the game. So the competition to Adrian, I think, is a stimulant, and it’€™s something that really gets his competitive juices obviously going so the pressures, I think, of playing in a big city. No, he’€™s never done it. But I think if you dream about doing it and you’€™ve got the character and the makeup that it’€™s not going to get to you in any way.

“I don’€™t think it will because I don’€™t think he has real highs and real lows. He’€™s almost kind of in a steady hum. I think it will be a win-win. Kind of to answer your question, that was concerning, yet, again, I have to remember, hey, this is Adrian. If you knew anybody who had that best personality to handle this situation, he has the best personality to handle this situation. That’€™s really the long and short.

“The only other thing is, again, OK, it’€™s a new league, so he has to get used to different pitchers but he’€™s a baseball player. You still have to throw strikes. some guys are going to be, wow, he’€™s really got good stuff. it’€™s going to be one of those new things where, he’€™ll adjust. And he adjusts better than anyone. He adjusts with injury. He does a lot of different adjustments. I think that’€™s the success you have as a player. If you have the ability to adjust, you’€™ve got a good thing going for you.’€

Though Gonzalez is returning from an injury, Boggs was unsurprised that the 28-year-old anticipates being able to play everyday, and pursuing his perennial goal of 162 games for his new club.

“At lunch today, I said, obviously this is going to be based on health. Are you feel good playing every game?” Boggs said. “He looked at me like, I don’€™t know, I ordered a bean burrito in a French restaurant or something. He just looked at me, like, what are you kidding me? I’€™m going to play. I’€™m going to play every day. that’€™s my goal. That’€™s what it is, 24/7, and if you don’€™t see him in there on a consistent basis, something’€™s not right.’€

Read More: adrian gonzalez, contract extension, john boggs,
Clay Buchholz: Red Sox haven’t broached new deal 01.20.11 at 1:13 am ET
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LOWELL — Speaking prior to being honored at the Lowell Spinners Alumni Dinner at Tsongas Arena Wednesday night, Clay Buchholz said that the Red Sox have yet to approach him about a contract extension.

“I haven’t spoken money with anybody,” said the 26-year-old Buchholz. “It’s been basically go out and play until somebody approaches me about it. That’s sort of how I’m looking at it.”

Buchholz is closing in on the same service time teammate Jon Lester found himself with when agreeing to his five-year, $30 million contract extension prior to the 2009 season, his last campaign before becoming arbitration eligible.

“They’ve got a lot more on their plate than to worry about me,” Buchholz said. “They don’t have to do anything with me. That’s the way I’m looking at it, and if something happens and they want to talk about it I’m sure I’ll hear about it.”

Buchholz made $443,000 in 2010, a season in which the righty went 17-7 with an ERA of 2.33 in 28 starts. He is currently under the Red Sox’ control through the 2014 season.

When constructing contract extensions with players either not yet arbitration eligible or in the midst of their arbitration years, the Red Sox have a team policy of buying out at least one season of free agency while also including a team option.

As for comparing his situation with Lester’s, Buchholz explained that the two scenarios have their differences.

“When I think about Jon Lester, I think about a kid who came up through the organization, battled cancer, beat cancer, came all the way back through and made it to the big leagues and now is, if not the best, is one of the best, left-handers in the game,” Buchholz said. “They are two completely different paths.

“With his whole contract thing, I think the Red Sox sort of owe him for all of the struggles he went through to make it to where he was.”

For more Red Sox coverage, see the team page at weei.com/redsox.

Read More: Clay Buchholz, contract extension, Jon Lester,
Report: Beckett, Sox near four-year deal 03.31.10 at 6:42 pm ET
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According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, the Red Sox and Josh Beckett are close to an agreement that would pay the right-hander close to $70 million over four years. Heyman cites sources close to the situation in suggesting that the agreement will be announced shortly after the start of the season.

On Tuesday, Beckett told WEEI.com that he had not heard from agent Michael Moye about a potential extension. While he said that he wasn’t allowing contract talks to enter his thinking, Beckett did reiterate his interest in remaining with the Red Sox.

“I’m not too concerned with [negotations],” said Beckett. “If it’s meant to be and the Red Sox want me to be here then I’ll stay here because I enjoy playing in Boston. Playing in front of those fans. I can’t imagine going anywhere else. They do everything they can to make us successful as possible and I don’t think there are a whole lot of organizations that do that.”

If Beckett and the Sox do reach an agreement, waiting until after Opening Day to announce it would be beneficial to the Sox in assessing the competitive balance tax. In the past, the Sox have announced extensions with players such as Coco Crisp and David Ortiz shortly after the start of the regular season.

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Report: Sox unwilling to offer Beckett more than four years 03.27.10 at 9:56 pm ET
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According to ESPN.com, the Red Sox won’t offer pitcher Josh Beckett a contract extension of more than four years. The report, which cited a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations, suggested that the Red Sox have concerns about Beckett’s shoulder that have led them to cap their offer at four years. While the Sox signed John Lackey to a five-year, $82.5 million deal this offseason, the club’s chief health concern was with Lackey’s elbow, rather than his shoulder.

Lackey owns a career record of 102-71 with a 3.81 ERA. A.J. Burnett owned a career 87-76 mark with a 3.81 ERA when he signed his five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Yankees prior to the 2009 season. Beckett, meanwhile, has a career 106-68 mark with a 3.79 ERA, making it natural to expect that he would be in line for a contract along the lines of his current and former teammates.

But as WEEI.com reported in February, Beckett’s shoulder presented different concerns than Lackey’s elbow issues, making it possible that his contract situation could be viewed as different than that of Burnett and Lackey. Beckett was told in 2000 that he would need surgery on the labrum in his right shoulder, but was reassessed by Dr. James Andrews, who helped him on a non-surgical path that has kept Beckett’s arm healthy for the past decade. Most recently, Beckett passed his insurance physical this spring.

The Red Sox and Beckett have declined comment on discussions about a contract extension for the pitcher this offseason, beyond making clear that both parties are interested in continuing the relationship beyond the 2010 season. Beckett, who turns 30 on May 15, is set to earn $12.1 million in 2010, the option season on a three-year, $30 million deal he signed with the Sox in 2006.

Read More: a.j. burnett, contract extension, john lackey, Josh Beckett
Red Sox Extension Discussions Proceed Slowly 12.10.08 at 6:52 am ET
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According to industry sources, the Red Sox have had preliminary discussions with corner infielder Kevin Youkilis and his agent, Joe Bick, about a long-term deal. Yet initial conversations between the team and the player suggest that, while Youkilis is receptive to the idea of staying in Boston for the long-term, a healthy financial gap must still be bridged to reach a deal. The two sides plan to continue negotiations in hopes of finding common ground. Youkilis is eligible for salary arbitration in each of the next two years, and then becomes eligible for free agency after the 2010 season.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the Sox had not discussed a contract extension with the representatives for outfielder Jason Bay. Bay, who often talked of being invigorated after moving from perpetual cellar-dwellar Pittsburgh to Boston, is due to make $7.5 million in 2009, the final season of a four-year, $18.25 million contract. If not re-signed, he would be eligible for free agency after the 2009 season.

The Sox and second baseman Dustin Pedroia agreed to a six-year, $40.5 million deal (with an option for a seventh year) last week.

Read More: contract extension, Dustin Pedroia, jason bay, Kevin Youkilis
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