Jon Lester had been scheduled to start Wednesday’s game against the Blue Jays, but he now won’t make that start and it’s uncertain whether he’ll ever toe the rubber for the Red Sox again.
With trade rumors swirling, Boston scratched the left-hander Wednesday and will give the ball to Brandon Workman instead. Yes, it’s still technically possible that Lester will start on Friday, but the writing is on the wall: the left-hander is going to be traded. It’s now just a matter of where he ends up.
FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the Athletics, Cardinals, Dodgers and Pirates are all “in the mix” for Lester’s services. Yes, the A’s are apparently still looking for pitching even after acquiring Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel earlier this month. Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com also hears that the Blue Jays and Orioles are in on Lester, though WEEI.com's Rob Bradford and Alex Speier are saying those two teams are out of it.
The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham reported Tuesday night that the Red Sox were in “make your best offer now” mode on Lester, so a deal seems likely to go down at some point Wednesday. Lester has said previously that he’ll still consider re-signing with the Red Sox if he’s traded, but there’s little doubt that dealing him lessens the possibility of that happening. Assuming Lester is indeed traded, Workman should remain in Boston’s rotation for the remainder of the season.
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Trade Winds a Blowin’
The Rays won again Tuesday, pulling to within one game of .500 after being 18 games under at one point last month. That means they’re no longer considering trading ace David Price, right?
Well, don’t be so sure.
CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman was told by a Rays source Tuesday that the team is "talking and willing" on the Price trade front. The Rays are surely aware what dealing the left-hander could potentially do to the psyche of the team. However, rival general managers told Heyman that they believe GM Andrew Friedman “has the guts to deal Price when the team has rallied from nowhere to the cusp of the AL pennant race,” with a few even suggesting that he “may prefer to pull the trigger.”
USA Today’s Bob Nightengale had a juicy nugget regarding the Price rumors, indicating that the Cardinals may or may not have an offer on the table for Price that would send Oscar Taveras, Shelby Miller and the Cards’ competitive balance pick to Tampa. Nightengale didn’t definitively say the offer has been made, but rival executives told Heyman they believed the proposal “had some merit.” The Dodgers have also been at the center of trade negotiations for Price, who, at the moment, is scheduled to start for the Rays on Wednesday.
Another frontline starter who has generated plenty of trade buzz in recent days has been Cole Hamels. However, it’s looking less and less likely that the Phillies left-hander is moved.
FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reported Monday that Philadelphia had made Hamels available, but his colleague, Ken Rosenthal, said Tuesday evening that the Phils have had “no offers” and "no meaningful dialogue" with teams inquiring on the southpaw. It’s certainly possible that general manager Ruben Amaro could lower his demands prior to Thursday’s deadline, but he doesn’t really have incentive to do so. A rival GM told CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman that Hamels is “staying put.”
One pitcher the Phillies could wind up dealing is A.J. Burnett. It just doesn’t appear that he’ll be going to the Pirates, as ESPN’s Jayson Stark says that trade talks between the Phillies and Pirates regarding Burnett are "all but dead." The Bucs would like Burnett back, but they are afraid the righty will wind up exercising a player option for 2015 that could pay him as much as $14.25 million. The feeling around the Phillies is that Burnett will likely retire after this season, but Pittsburgh doesn’t want to take any chances. The Cardinals and Royals have also been linked to Burnett.
Not only are the Red Sox poised to trade Lester, but it appears that they’re weighing offers for John Lackey, as well, with FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reporting Boston is “open” to dealing the veteran right-hander. The Royals, as reported by Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star and Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com, have expressed interest. However, with the ability to keep Lackey at $500,000 for next season, the Red Sox are "said to be seeking a sizable return."
On the hitting front, FOX Sports' Jon Morosi reported Tuesday that the Mariners are talking to the Twins about Josh Willingham. The Yankees are also showing interest in the veteran outfielder as they seek to add some right-handed punch to their lineup. Willingham is hitting just .222/.363/.422 this season, but he’s smacked 10 homers over 185 at-bats and could be an asset at a hitter-friendly park like Yankee Stadium. The Yanks are also reportedly considering Marlon Byrd and Alex Rios. Minnesota is also still fielding offers for Kurt Suzuki, though the Orioles are no longer interested.
ESPN's Jerry Crasnick has reported that the Diamondbacks are shopping Gerardo Parra. While the D’Backs love the intangibles Parra brings to the table, they have plenty of outfielders and Parra is due for arbitration for a final time this offseason. It also doesn’t help that he’s hitting just .256/.301/.360 this year. In addition to Parra, Arizona is reportedly listening to offers for Addison Reed, Aaron Hill, Oliver Perez, Martin Prado and Josh Collmenter. They are not expected to trade Wade Miley.
Buster Olney of ESPN.com hears that the "perception" around the Indians is that they are ready to move both Asdrubal Cabrera and Justin Masterson. Both players will be free agents after the season and don’t appear to be in the long-term plans after extension talks with Masterson in the spring dried up. The Tribe has top prospect Francisco Lindor ready to take over at shortstop next season.
National League Quick Hits: Matt Cain (elbow) has a visit to Dr. James Andrews scheduled ... Matt Kemp went 3-for-4 with two homers and four RBI in Tuesday's win against the Braves. Yasiel Puig was 4-for-5 and a homer short of the cycle in the same game ... Francisco Liriano struck out 11 while tossing seven innings of one-run ball in a win over the Giants ... CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports that the Rockies are expected to hang on to LaTroy Hawkins despite inquiries from the Pirates and other clubs ... Cole Hamels whiffed eight while spinning eight shutout frames in Tuesday’s victory over the Mets ... Starling Marte (concussion) worked out Tuesday but will not be activated Wednesday when first eligible ... Brandon Belt (concussion) could be cleared to begin a short rehab assignment or possibly be activated from the disabled list by this weekend ... Jason Heyward (back) is expected to return to the Braves' lineup on Wednesday or Thursday ... The Rockies activated Justin Morneau (neck) from the disabled list ... Jayson Werth (ankle) is hoping to return to the lineup on Wednesday ... Jay Bruce (bereavement) is expected back with the Reds on Friday ... Chris Cotillo of MLB Daily Dish hears that there is "still a good chance" the Padres deal Joaquin Benoit ...
American League Quick Hits: J.P. Arencibia went off Tuesday with two doubles, two home runs and seven RBI against the Yankees ... Brett Gardner went 4-for-5 with two doubles, a home run and three runs scored in the same game ... Mark Teixeira went 1-for-2 with a home run, three walks and three runs scored in his return to the lineup Tuesday ... Kyle Gibson struck out seven, allowing only two hits, over seven shutout innings versus the Royals ... Alex Cobb struck out 12 while allowing one run over eight innings as the Rays topped the Brewers Tuesday ... Jose Abreu went 3-for-4, hitting a two-run home run and a two-run double in Tuesday's win over the Tigers ... Marcus Stroman punched out eight batters while tossing seven frames of one-run ball in a win over the Red Sox Tuesday ... Jason Vargas (appendectomy) could rejoin the Royals' rotation on Saturday in Oakland ... Michael Bourn (hamstring) will increase his rehab workload over the next week but still has no timetable to return ... MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers are fielding offers for Neal Cotts but are also considering signing him to a contract extension ... George Springer (quad) took batting practice on Tuesday ... An MRI on Coco Crisp’s neck came back clean, but he’ll be out until at least Friday ... Michael Pineda (back) has will begin a rehab assignment on Sunday ... Eric Hosmer (hand) returned to action Tuesday, driving in the Royals’ lone run ...