Contract talks between the Boston Red Sox and left-handed starter Jon Lester are being postponed until the end of the season, according to CBSSports.com.
Lester reportedly told the team he wants to focus on pitching so the negotiations do not become a distraction.
Lester is in the final year of his contract so he can become a free agent at the end of the season. However, both sides want to work out a long-term deal.
The New York Yankees are expected to be one of several teams interested in Lester when he is a free agent. Lester does want to remain with the Red Sox, a team he has helped win World Series titles in 2007 and 2013.
The Red Sox wanted to continue negotiating with Lester on a new deal, but are respecting his wishes to put off talks.
According to Yahoo Sports, the Red Sox initially offered Lester a four-year, $70 million deal. The two sides have met throughout the spring, but Lester asked to table the discussions. It is not clear if the Red Sox upped their original offer.
Lester is 9-7 with a 2.92 ERA this season. He is coming off his best month of the season in which he went 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in June.
He was scheduled to start Friday’s game against the Orioles, but it was postponed due to rain. The Red Sox will play a day-night doubleheader against the Orioles at 1:05 and 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Fenway Park in Boston.