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Jon Lester Not Looking to Go to Highest Bidder, Leaves Door Open for Return to Boston

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If you were holding out hope that Jon Lester might return to the Red Sox next season, the A's ace is giving you reason to be optimistic.

"My time there, the memories and all that stuff, don’t get erased based on this whole ordeal,” Lester told Jon Tomase of the Boston Herald. “I’m glad with where I’m at, and I understood where Ben [Cherington] was at. At the end of the season, it’s not going to change my mind about going back there if they are aggressive and competitive and do the things they say they’re going to do. Boston is definitely a place I would go."

Lester continues to excel for the Athletics on the mound. He shut down the red-hot Royals for the second time since the Red Sox shipped him off to Oakland. The former Sox southpaw allowed three runs and struck out nine in six innings as the A's thumped the Royals, 11-3. Lester is now 3-0 with the A's and 6-0 with a 1.21 ERA in his last 10 starts.

The former Sox lefty understands his time in Oakland will be brief. "It’s going to be two months, or hopefully three, build some good relationships, and then shake hands and go our separate ways," he told the Herald.

Lester will be in line to earn a top-of-the-market paycheck this offseason as one of the most sought after starters in the marketplace, well beyond the four-year, $70 million offer put on the table by the Red Sox in the spring. But he insists that money is not going to be the primary factor in his decision.

"[The Red Sox] told me, ‘We’re going to be aggressive. You’re going to get blown out of the water by some of these [other] offers,'” Lester said regarding his last conversation with Red Sox owner John Henry. “I’m like, ‘I don’t need to be blown out of the water.’ Why would I need to be blown out of the water? That doesn’t make or break your decision, at least for me. 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 insists that comfort, not a record-setting contract, will be key in determining where he lands, but that didn't stop him from throwing some big numbers out there for the sake of argument.

"In the greater scheme of things, we’re talking about just a stupid amount of money," Lester said. "For me, I want to be comfortable. 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? Same thing if the highest bidder is $100 million and the team you’re going to feel most comfortable with offers $80 million. Is that $20 million really going to make the difference in your lifestyle?...

"I want to be happy. 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."

We'll find out just how much money -- and which situation -- will make Lester happy once the bids start rolling in this offseason.

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