BOSTON — The Boston Red Sox are continuing conversations that could lead to another offer to left-handed starter Jon Lester, ESPN.com reported Wednesday.
An ESPN.com source said those conversations are taking place at the ownership level.
Lester, 30, has maintained his preference that the Red Sox not reopen talks until after the season so the negotiations do not become a distraction.
The Red Sox reportedly made a four-year, $70 million offer in the spring, but Lester rejected it. He is in the final year of his contract.
Watching with interest is fellow Red Sox pitcher Jake Peavy.
“This is somebody I’m very emotionally attached to,” Peavy said Tuesday night, according to ESPN.com. “Jon, we’ll be friends for life. We love each other. Kinfolk we are. Me speaking on his behalf, that needs to be understood.
“I love the Boston Red Sox and respect everybody, but my heart and soul is with Jon Lester. This guy is as good as anybody in the game right now.”
Lester, who was named to the All-Star team, is 9-7 with a 2.73 ERA and 122 strikeouts in 122 innings over 18 starts this season.
In 11 postseason starts, Lester is 6-4 with a 2.11 ERA. In World Series games, his record is 3-0 with a 0.43 ERA. He beat the St. Louis Cardinals twice last season in the World Series, won by the Red Sox in six games.
While Lester and the Red Sox may be inching closer to continuing their relationship, Peavy reportedly has been the subject of trade talks involving Boston and the St. Louis Cardinals that could be finalized soon, according to ESPN.com.
The Cardinals are in need of help for their starting rotation to stay competitive in the National League Central. Starters Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha are out because injuries.
The Cardinals, who sent a scout to watch Peavy pitch Sunday, tried to acquire Peavy at last year’s deadline and he thought he was going there when the Red Sox pulled off a three-team trade with the White Sox and Tigers.
The 33-year-old Peavy signed a two-year, $29 million contract with the Red Sox before the 2013 season and has approximately $7 million left on the deal.
The 2014 season has not gone well for the Red Sox or Peavy, who has seven consecutive losses and a 1-7 record with a 4.64 ERA in 18 starts with 42 walks and 84 strikeouts in 110 2/3 innings.
His last win came on April 25 in the Red Sox’s 8-1 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Peavy has a 133-105 career record with a 3.57 ERA in 13 seasons with the San Diego Padres, Chicago White Sox and Red Sox. He is 5-8 with a 4.41 ERA since coming to Boston last year.
Sox designate Pierzynski for assignment
A.J. Pierzynski has been designated for assignment by the Boston Red Sox, who have 10 days to trade, waive or release the 17-year veteran catcher.
Pierzynski was acquired as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, signing a one-year, $8.25 million contract.
A two-time All-Star, Pierzynski played for the San Francisco Giants, Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers.
He is batting .254 in 72 games this season with 15 extra-base hits and 31 RBIs. He is a .300 hitter in 30 career postseason games, and had three home runs and drove in nine runs in 2005 as a member of the World Series champion White Sox.