Ben Cherington: Red Sox want to resolve Jon Lester contract talks 'one way or another' before Opening Day

Rob Bradford
March 24, 2014 - 8:59 am

SARASOTA, Fla. '€“ Speaking after a press conference to announce David Ortiz'€™ contract extension, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he plans on having resolution to the Jon Lester contract talks before Opening Day. '€œI can'€™t handicap it. We'€™re still talking,'€ Cherington said. '€œThere'€™s nothing else to report but that. I think the spirit of it has continued to be open and sharing information and also focusing in on resolving it one way or another this week before we get into Opening Day. But aside from that I can'€™t speculate on it.'€ Cherington noted there were no plans currently to meet with Lester'€™s agents, Sam and Seth Levinson, in the coming weeks, but that could change. The GM said he has had '€œa number of conversations over the last moth'€ with both Lester and his agents. '€œAny time you can talk and share information and understand each perspective better, that'€™s a form of progress,'€ the GM said. '€œI think we'€™ve done. I think saying anything more than that is sort of unfair to the process and not consistently with what we'€™ve agreed with Jon and Seth in terms of keeping the talks behind closed doors. We have great respect for Jon. He'€™s obviously preparing to take the ball on Opening Day, and that'€™s what he'€™s focused on mostly. No matter what happens this week, we'€™re going to support him fully and our preferred position is that he remains in a Red Sox uniform past 2014 won'€™t change, no matter what happens the rest of this week.'€ When asked if there was a possibility of talks heading into the season '€“ as Lester said he was open to if a resolution was perceived to be close '€“ Cherington reiterated the team'€™s intention was to move on from negotiations when the season began. '€œRight now we'€™re focused on the conversation this week and trying to resolve it one way or another without getting into the season,'€ he said. '€œHopefully we'€™re all reasonable people and if it made sense to do that we could reconsider next week, but that'€™s not the thinking right now.'€