The trade deadline looms just three days down the week, and some big names may or may not be shipping off to new locations. Jon Lester, Matt Kemp, David Price and Troy Tulowitzki could all be wearing different uniforms by August 1.
Jon Lester to the Dodgers
Lester is the likeliest to be traded.
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
Boston's ace will be a free agent this offseason, and the two sides couldn't find common ground during their extension talks. Lester has openly said he wants to return to Boston, even if the Red Sox trade him this week.
"...my ultimate goal would be to come back [to Boston]," Lester told WEEI.com's Alex Speier.
Boston is 7.5 games behind Toronto for the second AL Wild Card, with six other teams in between. ESPN.com's postseason percentages have the Red Sox at 1.5 percent.
The Los Angeles Dodgers are in the running for Lester and have the prospects to make a deal. They're unlikely to unload the farm for a player who has already said he probably won't sign an extension with a new club, though.
But they're the favorite to land the southpaw, who would come at a cheaper cost than Price. Lester's 2.62 FIP is third-best among qualified lefties, ahead of Price—per Fangraphs.com.
Matt Kemp to Boston
While the Dodgers may get Lester, it's unlikely that Kemp would be the magic chip in the deal.
ESPN.com's Gordon Edes reported the teams discussed a deal centered around Lester and Kemp, but speculated the Dodgers would need to eat a significant portion of the outfielder's $118 million contract. Edes added that Boston would rather have Los Angeles prospect Joc Pederson, while ESPN.com's Buster Olney tweeted that Los Angeles would likely need to include a prospect in a Kemp deal.
The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo said later Sunday evening that nothing was imminent.
A Dodgers source indicated there are no major talks going on between Red Sox and Dodgers at this time involving Jon Lester or Matt Kemp.— Nick Cafardo (@nickcafardo) July 27, 2014
From Edes' story, one talent evaluator said, "If [Kemp is] healthy, he would absolutely destroy that ballpark [Fenway Park]." That makes the deal enticing for Boston, but Kemp has not been healthy for a full season since 2011.
David Price on the move
Jon Morosi still believes Tampa Bay will deal Price, even though the Rays have clawed their way back into postseason contention. The right return package could sway Tampa Bay to trade Price, whom the club would rather not take to arbitration in the winter.
Because Lester won't sign an extension and Price won't be a free agent until 2016, the Dodgers would probably prefer Tampa Bay's ace to Boston's. But because Tampa Bay is in the playoff race, the Dodgers would need to pony up a significant offer, likely including at least one of Joc Pederson and Corey Seager.
Los Angeles has said, according to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark per MLBtraderumors.com, it would not part with either player in a deal for Price. Lester would be a cheaper alternative for the Dodgers.
Morosi considers Seattle and St. Louis as other potential landing spots, but he favors the Dodgers.
The Rays can hold out until the offseason.
Troy Tulowitzki to the Mets
The Mets have expressed interest in Tulowitzki.
According to Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan, the Mets are willing to move top prospect Noah Syndergaard in exchange for Tulowtzki. The Rockies don't appear to be all too interested in trading Tulowtzki in-season.
For the Mets, the omnipresent concern is shelling out money for a brittle shortstop, who is owed $114 million through 2020. But a healthy Tulowitzki could be the missing piece in an offense that pales in comparison to a solid pitching staff.
Verdict: Fiction, for now