The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday discussed a potential trade involving pitcher Jon Lester, according to multiple reports.
A trade might not have been as close as some suggested, though. Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette downplayed the notion that a deal was imminent.
“I don’t know really what the rumors are,” Duquette told CSNBaltimore.com. “That would be news to me.”
While Duquette certainly threw cold water on a sizzling rumor, he also didn’t rule out potentially going after a pitcher of Lester’s caliber. It’s clear the Orioles are open for business with Thursday’s Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline now just hours away.
“We’d be interested in adding pitchers that could help us at the top of our rotation,” Duquette said. “Who wouldn’t be?”
The Orioles have some intriguing pitching prospects, including Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. However, the O’s, who learned Wednesday that Harvey will miss the remainder of the 2014 season with an elbow injury, sound reluctant to part ways with such prospects, perhaps lessening their chances of landing Lester.
“Some of the long-term prospects for our pitching we think are very valuable for the long-term sustainability of the organization and I think that’s a real important component to have a good team year-in and year-out,” Duquette said. “I think with our young pitchers we would be conservative and we would try and give them a prolonged trial in the big leagues before we would trade them.”
Lester has said that it’s unlikely he’d sign an extension with his new club if he’s traded, so whichever team acquires the ace — if he is traded — could pay a premium price for a two-month rental.