The Red Sox and starting pitcher Jon Lester have tabled contract negotiations until the offseason, principal owner John Henry told the Boston Herald late Wednesday.
Lester has put together a terrific season and is expected to be one of the most sought-after free agents in the offseason. The 30-year-old left-hander improved to 10-7 with a 2.50 ERA on Sunday, when he held the Royals scoreless over eight innings, striking out eight, walking two and yielding four hits. He was an All-Star this season for the third time in his career.
"I think Jon has handled this exceptionally well throughout the course of this entire season, so I don't see it changing anything," Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
The Herald reported on Thursday that Henry said in an e-mail that the team has "agreed not to resume contract talks with its ace left-hander until the season is done." According to the report, Lester had previously said he didn't want the talks to be a distraction during the season.
"I'm not going to discuss Jon's situation out of respect for both Jon and [general manager] Ben [Cherington], other than to say that both sides have put further discussion off until after the season," Henry wrote in his e-mail to the Herald. "It's clear that both Jon and our organization would like to see Jon back next year if possible."