In the beginning of the month, the trade talks were all about where Tampa Bay Rays pitcher David Price was going to end up by this Friday. Now that the Rays feel they have a chance for one of the AL Wild Card slots, many speculate they will hold onto the pitcher. That now shifts attention to division rival Boston Red Sox and their lefty ace Jon Lester. He has been scratched from his Wednesday start, so it is only a matter of time before he is moved.
The St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers are said to be the two biggest contenders in trading for Lester. However, that does not mean another team could not sneak in and give the Red sox a deal they cannot refuse.
Another team that called for his services and could definitely use them at this point is the slumping Seattle Mariners who need to make a deadline deal for bats. However, it sure would not hurt to bring in Lester to join Cy Young favorite Felix Hernandez. Do not consider Lester returning to his home in the Pacific Northwest out just yet, but it is unlikely.
Dealing within the division could be an option for the Red Sox as well. Both the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays have expressed interest in landing the pitcher, and Boston knows that for the remaining two months, they would only see the pitcher no more than three times. There is doubt he would re-sign with either of those clubs when his contract expires at the end of the season, and it was rumored he would even consider re-signing with the Red Sox anyway.
The Lester decision is reminiscent to the Milwaukee Brewers trading for C.C. Sabathia back in 2008, when they had it all going for them and knew it was going to be nearly impossible to re-sign the big guy. Oh yeah, they too have been calling about acquiring the star pitcher.
Lester is more than likely to test the free agent market at season’s end and may not re-sign with the team he is traded to. However, teams are still willing to take the risk to win for today — and deal with the future when it comes.