Oakland Athletics pitcher Jon Lester told the Boston Herald that money won't necessarily determine where he'll sign in his impending free agency.
Lester is in the last season of a six-year, $42.8 million contract. The Boston Red Sox were unable to agree to terms with Lester on a contract extension, causing the team to trade the starter to the Athletics at the deadline, and Oakland is unlikely to re-sign Lester due to a limited payroll, meaning the left-hander will be a free agent after the season.
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But while Lester is likely to receive steep contract offers this offseason, he said his decision will ultimately be about the right fit.
“I want to be happy,” Lester said. “I want my family to be happy. I want to be comfortable. If that means taking less money, it means taking less money. If it means going to the highest bidder, it means going to the highest bidder, but that’s not going to dictate where I’ll be happy.”
“The way I look at it is, if someone gives you $170 million and someone gives you $150 million, is that $20 million really going to change your lifestyle?"
The 30-year-old also reiterated that he'd be willing to re-sign with the Red Sox as long as the team is "aggressive and competitive" with an offer, since he enjoyed playing for Boston and is already comfortable with the organization. The Herald reports that the Red Sox will pursue Lester "aggressively."
"I’m not going to the highest bidder. I’m going to the place that makes me and my family happy. If that’s Boston, it’s Boston.”
Lester is 13-7 with a 2.51 ERA this season in 24 starts. He's allowed six earned runs in three starts since joining the Athletics.
- Ben Estes