UPDATE: Jon Lester was scratched from his start tomorrow, according to Jason Mastrodonato. He will likely be traded tonight or tomorrow morning per Rob Bradford. Are the Cardinals involved?
While yesterday we learned that the Phillies have made Cole Hamels available and that the Cardinals are interested, today's trade rumors surround Boston's Jon Lester.
After getting a good return in the Jake Peavy trade to the Giants, the Red Sox are apparently willing to consider trading rotation stalwarts Jon Lester and John Lackey, according to Alex Speier of WEEI.
Jim Bowden of ESPN reports that the Cardinals, along with the Blue Jays, Mariners, Brewers, Dodgers, Orioles and (surprisingly) the Marlins are all in on Lester. Jeff Passan and Tim Brown of Yahoo.com also list the Pirates as a dark-horse to acquire Lester.
For their part, the Red Sox are using the tight NL Central race (and potentially the bad blood between the Cardinals and Dodgers) to try to leverage more prospects out of the interested teams, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post. Sherman suggests that the Red Sox are telling the teams that Lester could be the difference maker in the race, while also suggesting that the Cards could make a trade for Lester just to keep him away from the Dodgers.
Jayson Stark of ESPN, breaks down 8 potential landing spots for Lester, quoting one NL exec as saying "I can't imagine them [the Cardinals] giving up Taveras for Lester. That doesn't make a lot of sense," but Stark suggests that the Cards could trade Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez or Stephen Piscotty for the lefty.
While a source told Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston that there is less than a 50 percent chance that Lester is traded before the deadline, you have to think that with this much interest, something will happen--an opinion that is shared by Andy Marino of the New York Daily News, who says that there is "little doubt" than Boston will trade its ace.
Overall, I cannot see the appeal of Lester to the Cardinals, unless they think they can get him for cheap (i.e. a deal that does not involve Oscar Taveras) or at least cheaper than the other starters that are available.
With the Phillies reportedly asking the Dodgers for Joc Pederson, Corey Seager and Julio Urias (their 3 best prospects) in return for Hamels and telling other teams that it will take 3 top prospects and another mid-level prospect in return for its lefty (per Bob Nightengale), the Red Sox's asking price for Lester certainly would be considered cheap in comparison.
Cardinal's GM John Mozeliak has been saying for weeks that, with their crowded outfield situation, something's going to have to give. Well, Mo, now's the time to make that something happen.