NEW YORK — Jon Lester saw this coming from a mile away.
Lester and the Boston Red Sox decided to stick a pin in their contract negotiations at the end of spring training after failing to come to terms on a long-term extension. Details have since surfaced about the Red Sox’s most recent contract offer, and Lester unsurprisingly continues to face questions about his future in Boston.
“We all know that things like this eventually get put out there. I knew one day we’d be probably standing here doing this, so it is what it is,” Lester said Saturday at Yankee Stadium while answering questions about recent reports indicating he rejected a four-year offer in the $70-80 million range. “It’s kind of the nature of the beast of playing in a market like this. It’s hard to keep things under wraps. But like I said, when things ended at the beginning of the season, (there were) no hard feelings. I think both sides walked away in good places. Like I said, we’ll pick it up when the time comes.”
Lester, who will earn $13 million in 2014, is scheduled to become a free agent after this season. Both he and the Red Sox have expressed interest in continuing their relationship, though, and the 30-year-old remains optimistic something will get done despite talks stalling at the end of spring training.
“I think we’re always hopeful, absolutely,” Lester said Saturday. “Like I’ve stated before, I would like to think what they’ve stated is true as well, and I want to be here. They said they want me here. Just at that particular time things didn’t really pan out, didn’t work out. When the time comes, we’ll sit down again and see where we’re at then.”
Lester is coming off a 2013 campaign in which he went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA in 33 regular-season starts. The two-time All-Star is off and running this season, too, lasting at least six innings in each of his first three starts while posting a 2.57 ERA.