The Kansas City Star's Bob Dutton has written that the Royals are so desperate to land a front-line starting pitcher this offseason that they might be willing to dangle top prospect Wil Myers in the right deal. One of the pitchers named by Dutton as a possible target is Red Sox lefty Jon Lester.
It would come as a surprise if the Red Sox did explore such a trade. Lester is coming off the most disappointing season of his career, going 9-14 with a 4.82 ERA. Despite his struggles, the Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy says that Lester is still a keeper because of his competitive nature and natural talent.
Trading Lester would create a huge hole in the Red Sox 2013 starting rotation. Their next best pitcher is Clay Buchholz, who, while talented, is not the potential ace that Lester can be when he's on.
However, if the Red Sox were willing to gamble that they could find a replacement for Lester through trade or free agency, they might be willing to take a chance so they could land a dynamic prospect like Myers.
Splitting his time between Double-A and Triple-A last season, Myers hit a combined .314 with 37 home runs and 109 RBI. His production earned him recognition as Baseball America's 2012 Minor League Player of the Year, and the widespread belief that he is a good bet to supplant Mike Trout as the next hot MLB rookie in 2013.
Like all rookies, Myers can't be seen as a sure thing, so the Red Sox would really have to believe he is a special player in order to feel confident exploring the trade of a proven pitcher like Lester.
In his article, Dutton indicated that a deal between the Sox and Royals could involve more players than just Lester and Myers. With Lester having two years on his contract, including a buyout option after next year if he finishes in the top two in Cy Young voting, making the trade could be a risk for both sides.
Although Dutton reports that the proposed trade is only one of the deals surrounding Myers for a pitcher that has been discussed, he is quick to point out "neither appears close at the moment."
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan reports that two sources have indicated the Royals are willing to trade Myers if it will land them a front-line starting pitcher. Depending upon how the Royals view Lester, Boston could be a possible trade partner.
Dutton previously tweeted that the Royals are willing to trade anyone besides catcher Sal Perez and shortstop Alcides Escobar if it would land them the kind of impact pitcher they desire.
A Lester-for-Myers trade may just be more kindling for the hot stove fire, but there is a chance that it could be a seed that comes to fruition. Only time will tell if the Red Sox and Royals decide that they are confident exploring such a blockbuster.
Statistics via BaseballReference