Ben Cherington

Ben Cherington on Jon Lester: 'I haven't been told we're out, so I assume we're not out'

Rob Bradford
December 08, 2014 - 4:28 pm

SAN DIEGO -- Striking a measured tone, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington met with the Boston media Monday night at the winter meetings to discuss the latest in regards to his team'€™s pursuit of free agent pitcher Jon Lester. Cherington, who said he had no scheduled meetings with Lester'€™s agents Monday night but did expect to talk to them at some point, couldn'€™t offer any clues as to what path Lester might take, simply saying he expected the pitcher to choose a team soon. As for a report earlier in the day that suggested the Red Sox were not one of the finalists for Lester (which the pitcher's agent, Seth Levinson, called "absolutely untrue"), Cherington said, "I haven't been told we're out, so I assume we're not out." Here are some of the highlights from the get-together with GM: The latest on Lester "With regards to Lester, we respect that he'€™s got a decision that'€™s going to be made and we assume that will be sometime soon. We'€™ve been involved and had a chance to talk to him at length on numerous occasions. It sounds like he'€™s getting closer to a decision. Aside from that, I don'€™t know any more than that. I think we'€™ve never looked at it like Plan A, B, C, D. We'€™ve looked at it like we need to build a rotation so we have to be in all sorts of stuff and we have been on all sorts of stuff all offseason, or to this point in the offseason. There'€™s probably, between free agent possibilities and trade possibilities, 15, 20 starting pitching scenarios we'€™ve talked about and worked on so obviously not all those are going to land and more of those won'€™t land than will land. We just have to stay involved and keep working and work as hard as we can to get the ones to land that make the most sense. I don'€™t see it as a Plan A, B or C. I see it as we'€™re trying to build a good rotation and we'€™ve got to look at every possibility to do that." Did you expect Lester'€™s decision to come sooner than it has? "You know, I guess there was some speculation earlier in the offseason that it might get done sooner, before the winter meetings, so here we are in the winter meetings. On the other hand, as you guys know, most bigger deals don'€™t happen before the Winter Meetings, so probably not surprising that we'€™re here." Are you being held up making other moves because of Lester'€™s process? "No, we really don'€™t. I think we'€™re in a position where we have position player strength and depth. We have resources, we have some financial flexibility. There'€™s all sorts of different ways to build the pitching staff. We'€™ve been able to pursue all kinds of things. Don'€™t feel constrained, other than just trying to find a deal that makes sense. That'€™s the constraint '€“ it'€™s not one guy or the other. We'€™re just still working towards deals that make sense." Does your budgeted number for the free agent change? "You have to to some degree. That number can move over time. All sorts of things can factor into what you'€™re going to do whether trade or free agent. It'€™s not necessarily static, circumstances can change which might lead you to change your position even in the context of an offseason, if one thing happens it might affect another so yes there has to be a line. Every team does that. I think it can be different for every team. I don'€™t believe one thing has to make sense for everyone, something might make a lot of sense for one team and not as much for another based on their particular situation. You have to figure out what makes sense for us." Regarding the reported meeting between principal owner John Henry and Lester "There was a report that there was a meeting with John Henry. We'€™d like to be able to do some of these things without that kind of thing getting out but that got out. We'€™ve had opportunity we'€™ve needed to meet with Jon and meet with Seth and give them all the information we can give them."