Larry Lucchino on plans to talk to David Ortiz and Jon Lester after letting Jacoby Ellsbury walk

February 21, 2014 - 9:32 am

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino confirmed's report on Thursday that team officials met with slugger David Ortiz, the beginning of what the Red Sox hope will be a process that will help to ensure that the 38-year-old remains with the Sox for the rest of his career. "We're obviously not going to talk about the negotiations in any public way, but we did have a chance to see David yesterday and have a conversation with him. But other than that, we're going to give it the priority it deserves," said Lucchino. "We want it to happen. We want him to be a guy who essentially came in with us -- even though it was 2003, our second year -- and stayed with us for the rest of his career. I think it's a great thing, I know it's a great thing for us. I think it's a great thing for David. And it will be a great thing for baseball and Red Sox fans. He feels connected. He's committed. He's the face, certainly one of the most important faces of baseball, as well as for the franchise, so we're eager to resolve something if it can be done." Asked if he could imagine Ortiz ever leaving the Sox, Lucchino said, "I can envision anything. It's not impossible. But it's certainly not something I've thought about till the question was posed. Can I envision it? Yeah, my mind is facile enough to envision something like that. But do I anticipate it happening? No." Lucchino also said that the team plans to discuss a contract extension with left-hander Jon Lester this spring. The CEO expressed appreciation for Lester's comments this offseason that he wants to remain with the Sox for the duration of his career and is willing to take less than full market value to do so. "That was certainly, for me, one of the highlights of the offseason, were the comments Jon made about the organization, wanting to stay here. He was so forthright and blunt about it, no game-playing or whatever," said Lucchino. "It was really nice to hear it when you're in our position. It's really nice to hear it. We will explore that matter as well during spring training." Though the Sox have pursued an operating model focused on shorter-term deals in recent years, Lucchino did allow that the team was open to top-of-the-market contracts for the right players in their prime. That being the case, he was asked, why didn't the Sox make an exception to their preference for shorter-term deals for Jacoby Ellsbury prior to his securing of a seven-year, $153 million deal? "There are exceptions," said Lucchino, "but the proposal they made to him was obviously very appealing to him and sometimes you have to say good-bye to people you'd like to keep here because the appeal of the economics are so great."

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