Jon Lester is a hot topic in Boston Red Sox trade rumors.
Lester is drawing interest on the trade market, according to multiple reports. While it’s unclear whether the Red Sox will seriously consider trading Lester, there are reports indicating that Boston could be willing to do so for the right package.
Of course, we’re dealing with a lot of speculation here. The Major League Baseball non-waiver trade deadline lends itself to plenty of chatter that never amounts to anything, and that certainly could be the case with the rumors surrounding Lester, who is set to become a free agent after this season. After all, both Lester and the Red Sox have been consistent in stating that they’d like to extend their relationship beyond 2014. Since there are various reports out there indicating a trade is possible, though, it’s worth diving into with Thursday’s deadline fast approaching.
ESPN’s Jayson Stark reports that the Red Sox have contacted every contender that’s looking for a starter and let them know Lester could be available for a two- or three-player package headlined by at least one upper-echelon prospect. It’s an intriguing scenario, as it’s reasonable to think Lester — a legitimate No. 1 starter — could net the Red Sox a good haul.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reports that, according to sources, the Red Sox are being “hit hard” on both Lester and fellow starting pitcher John Lackey from most contenders, including teams in the American League East.
Sources told Rosenthal and his colleague, Jon Morosi, that the Baltimore Orioles are among those who have reached out to the Red Sox about Lester. Rosenthal, citing sources, adds that the Seattle Mariners also have called Boston about the three-time All-Star.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, meanwhile, reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers have at least spoken to the Red Sox about Lester, though reports from The Boston Globe and WEEI.com suggest there’s been no meaningful dialogue regarding a potential Lester-for-Matt Kemp swap.
UPDATE (8:55 a.m.): Heyman has added the Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates to the list of teams reportedly interested in Lester.
Will any of this lead to a trade?
Obviously, we’ll have to wait and see. And that wait could last a few days, as multiple major league sources have told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford that it looks as though the Red Sox’s decision on whether to trade Lester most likely will be made close to Thursday’s 4 p.m. deadline. Bradford notes, however, that the likelihood of a trade is gaining momentum, which certainly coincides with Rosenthal’s report that, according to a source, the Red Sox are open to trading both Lester and Lackey for the right returns.
Even if Lester gets traded, it won’t exactly signify the official end of his time in Boston, though it could. Lester said Friday that he’d be willing to re-sign with the Red Sox over the offseason even if he’s traded before Thursday’s deadline.
The Red Sox have some big decisions to make over the next few days. None are bigger than determining Lester’s immediate future.