Updates from Thursday, July 31
Alex Speirer of WEEI.com reports Jon Lester has been traded to the A's:
Trying to confirm, but hearing Lester and Gomes might be moving for Cespedes— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 31, 2014
Confirmed.— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 31, 2014
Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan was first to report Lester had been traded:
Source: Jon Lester has been traded.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) July 31, 2014
Updates from Wednesday, July 30
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal has the latest on teams pursuing Lester:
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported on dialogue between Miami and Boston:
Red Sox and Marlins had a few chats on Lester/Lackey. The Red Sox inquired about Yelich. Could be a prelude to deeper talks in offseason— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 30, 2014
Cafardo also reported on Boston's asking price for Jon Lester:
Source : Red Sox are asking for one major leaguer and prospects for Lester— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 30, 2014
CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reveals a mystery team in the Lester trade sweepstakes:
Heyman also provides the latest on Lester potentially being traded to the Orioles:
lester to orioles isnt close. o's are thought reluctant to give up top prospects.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) July 30, 2014
Dodgers have made it clear they're not trading Pederson, Seager or Urias, no longer on Lester, Price or Hamels. Thinking backend SP, bench— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 30, 2014
Joel Sherman of the New York Post is also reporting that the Baltimore Orioles are not close to a deal for Lester:
I am told #Orioles do not have deal for Lester or anything close. Still working mainly on small things— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) July 30, 2014
Earlier, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reported that the Orioles were in serious discussions for Lester:
The Indians are trading Justin Masterson to the Cardinals— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) July 30, 2014
Lester also commented on the trade rumors swirling around him as the deadline approaches:
Thank you all for the kind words! Tough situation to be in but it's what we sign up for and I find comfort knowing we're in this together!— Jon Lester (@JLester31) July 30, 2014
Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal provides the latest on Lester:
Source: “Very good chance” that #RedSox trade Lackey along with Lester.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2014
To be clear: Source not saying #RedSox will move Lester and Lackey in the same deal. Just saying “very good chance” both will be traded.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 30, 2014
Earlier, ESPN's Buster Olney notes why some of Lester's suitors remain in the hunt for the ace:
At this point, the interest of Jon Lester from Cardinals, Pirates and Brewers is almost as much about keeping him from rivals as adding him.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 30, 2014
ESPN's Gordon Edes has an updated list of suitors:
Six teams still in on Lester, according to source with direct knowledge: Dodgers, Cardinals, Pirates, Blue Jays, Orioles, Athletics— Gordon Edes (@GordonEdes) July 30, 2014
Updates from Tuesday, July 29
FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reports which teams are in the mix for Lester:
The Red Sox confirmed Lester will not start Wednesday:
Farrell: Brandon Workman will start tomorrow.— Boston Red Sox (@RedSox) July 30, 2014
Alex Speier of WEEI.com reports the Red Sox have made a decision on if Jon Lester will be starting tomorrow:
Farrell: 'In light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon, it's in everyone's best interests' for Workman to start— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) July 30, 2014
Previously, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reported that it appeared he would indeed be scratched:
As I just said on @FOXSports1, it's increasingly likely Jon Lester will be scratched from tomorrow's start due to trade talks.— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) July 29, 2014
But if there are four teams considered either to be in the lead or most logical to land Lester, it may be the Brewers, Pirates and Orioles along with the presumed favorite Dodgers.
LA is "still the best fit," one rival GM said.
Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reported on Boston's interest in trading Lester:
NL GM says #RedSox aren’t just exploring the Lester market. They’re talking offers and want to deal him. Hard to image he starts tomorrow— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 29, 2014
Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports indicates the Pittsburgh Pirates could enter the mix for Lester's services:
Passan and Tim Brown provided more details on the Pirates' interest:
Pittsburgh, two games back of the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Central and a half-game behind three teams competing for the two wild-card spots, boasts one of the best farm systems in the game and could use it to fortify its run at a second straight postseason spot. And one name at the center of the talks, according to sources, is switch-hitting prospect Josh Bell.
Bell, 21, is the sort of prospect around whom a deal could be made. He hit .335/.384/.502 at Class A Bradenton before a recent promotion to Double-A. The Pirates signed him for $5 million after selecting him in the second round of the 2011 draft.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported on an added dynamic to trade talks surrounding Lester:
Possible dynamic in #RedSox talks: Lester, Lackey are close. Lackey may not want to play for $500K in ’15 or sign extensn if Lester is gone.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2014
Jim Bowden of ESPN provides a full list of teams reportedly interested in Lester:
Heyman provides more details on Milwaukee's interest in Lester as the trade deadline approaches:
The Brewers have a top young pitcher Jimmy Nelson, who could interest Boston, and some better prospects than in some recent seasons.
Updates from Monday, July 28
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported on league-wide interest in Jon Lester:
Sources: #RedSox getting “hit hard” on both Lester and Lackey from most contenders, including AL East clubs.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 28, 2014
Source: #RedSox open to trading BOTH Lester and Lackey for right returns.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2014
Maybe it goes without saying, but sources say the #Dodgers are investigating every top available starter - Price, Lester, Hamels, Lackey.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2014
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports revealed the identity of the AL East team interested in Lester:
Earlier, ESPN's Buster Olney reports on an emerging contender for Lester's services:
There's a growing expectation from rival execs that Jon Lester is going to be traded before Jdeadline; LAD viewed as likely landing spot.— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) July 28, 2014
Following the first domino to fall that sent Jake Peavy to the San Francisco Giants, the Boston Red Sox appear to be in full-blown sell mode. Another prominent starter in Jon Lester might be next to go ahead of the trade deadline.
Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports provides the latest on the likelihood of a Lester deal and one potential suitor to watch:
There are more details for the Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers working out a deal. With a need to acquire offensive players for the future, Gordon Edes of ESPN.com notes that Boston might be willing to trade Lester for Matt Kemp:
The Red Sox are considering making a move for Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, according to a club source. ...
... The right-handed-hitting Kemp could be the major piece in a trade for Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester, especially with the Dodgers reluctant to part with top outfield prospect Joc Pederson.
Lester has put together yet another strong year despite the struggles of the team in 2014. The left-hander boasts a record of 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA and 149 strikeouts. In four July starts, he's only allowed .93 earned runs per contest.
With his elite-level pitching thus far, Lester has made the case as one of the best in the game. His dominance on the mound could also lead to a big payday, per Christopher L. Gasper of The Boston Globe:
We’ve all heard of teams making playoff pushes. Lester is making a pay-day push. He is 4-0 with an 0.85 earned run average in his last seven starts. He is the Joe Flacco of free agent pitchers, a border-line elite player having an elite season at the most opportune time.
Apart from just his regular-season success, Boston's ace has been just that in the postseason. Lester has started 11 games in the playoffs, earning a 6-4 record, 2.11 ERA and two World Series rings to show for it.
Tack on the fact that he's gone 3-0 with a microscopic 0.43 ERA in the World Series and any franchise would be drooling over trading for him. That type of starter could be the difference for a team on the fringe of making the postseason.
David Ortiz spoke about the possibility of a trade, per Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe:
Ortiz on the Lester trade talk: "Hopefully it doesn’t happen. Lester is one of the best pitchers in the game and that’s a keeper.”— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) July 27, 2014
Lester has made it clear that he plans to return to Boston even if he's traded. The 30-year-old revealed his intentions if he's dealt by the Red Sox prior to the trade deadline, per WEEI.com:
Like I’ve said plenty of times, this is where I want to be. And if they trade me I completely understand. No hard feelings. I know what they have to do for their organization and if that involves me, so be it. If it doesn’t I’ll keep running out there every five days and pitching. And hopefully in November we get something done. Or October, whenever it is.
What should the Red Sox do with Lester?
Clearly, Lester understands that this is a business, but time is running out for the Sox to make a deal. With the deadline looming on Thursday, Boston needs to find a willing trade partner with multiple young assets soon to get a reasonable return on Lester if it chooses to part with him.
As for Lester's outlook, he could have a chance to compete for another title this season. After helping lead the Red Sox last year to a second championship in nine seasons with the organization, the three-time All-Star might get the best of both worlds.
Any team that potentially lands Lester gets more than just a great pitcher this season. He also provides veteran leadership to any franchise looking to make a playoff push with his postseason experience.
If Lester does re-sign for 2015, the Sox could bring in young prospects for the future and have an ace back in the fold. After dealing Peavy, Boston now has a chance to further improve its farm system by leasing out Lester to a playoff contender.
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