Earlier this week, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said he would like to have a deal done by Opening Day, but Lester says he doesn't think that date is the "be-all, end-all," because the talks have been pleasant.
The Red Sox open the 2014 season Monday against the Baltimore Orioles.
"Like Ben said the other day, both sides are optimistic about it," said Lester via MLB.com.
Lester, 30, went 15-8 with a 3.75 ERA, a 1.29 WHIP, and 177 strikeouts last season for the Red Sox. This season, Lester is scheduled to make $13 million in the final season of his contract.
"Like I said last week, I think if we're close, both sides have agreed we're not just going to end something just to end something because it's Opening Day," Lester said. "If we're close, yeah, we'll carry it over. I don't think that's a distraction. But I feel like if things are nowhere near being done, yeah, that's a good thing for both sides. You can come out and say what needs to be said about it and put it on the back burner and worry about playing baseball then."SHEEHAN: Cabrera and Trout lead SI.com's preseason All-MLB team