Boston Red Sox star Jon Lester says he is willing to take a pay cut to stay with the team beyond his current contract.
The left arm pitcher enters the final year of his six-year, $42.75m contract signed before the 2009 season and will be eligible for free agency next winter.
But according to the star, he has no intention of getting to that point and is ready to bargain with Fenway Park officials to keep himself in Boston.
Speaking to the Boston Globe, Lester said: "I understand to stay here you're not going to get a free agent deal. You're not going to do it. It's not possible. You're bidding against one team. I understand you're going to take a discount to stay.
"Do I want to do that? Absolutely. But just like [the Red Sox] want it to be fair for them, I want it to be fair for me and my family. If we can get to something in spring training, that would be awesome."
Lester, 30, pitched a 3.75 ERA, 109 ERA+ and 2.64 K/BB ratio in 213 1/3 innings for the World Series winners. Most notably, Lester has a 2.11 ERA in 13 postseason games, 11 of which have been starts.
General manager Ben Cherington has confirmed that, while he wants Lester to stay, negotiations have yet to begin.
“Because we haven’t even had a conversation yet, I don’t want to start putting a calendar on it,” he told the Boston Globe. “But we certainly share an interest in talking about a way to keep him here. And we’ll find a time to do that, start up that conversation.”