The Red Sox are likely to move starting pitcher Jon Lester prior to Thursday’s non-wavier trade deadline, according to ESPN’s Buster Olney.
Lester, who is set to be a free agent after the 2014 season, is 10-7, with a 2.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox this season. His 149 strikeouts ranks eighth among pitchers in Major League Baseball this season.
The Milwaukee Brewers have had reported interest in Lester and would even be willing to deal Jimmy Nelson, one of team’s top pitching prospects.
It should be noted that Lester said he would be willing to return to Boston next season even if he is traded before the deadline. Teams might be wary of trading key prospects to the Red Sox for Lester if he is only a three-month rental.
It is also unlikely that Lester will sign an extension if acquired by the Brewers, or any other MLB team. All indications point to Lester wanting to experience free agency. Lester, 30, will likely sign a contract in the neighborhood of $150 million, based on signings of key left-handed pitchers such as CC Sabathia (seven-years, $161 million) and Clayton Kershaw (seven-years, $
215 million). It should be noted that Sabathia and Kershaw signed their contracts prior to the age of 30.
The Red Sox also are looking to trade right-handed pitcher John Lackey and have reportedly received interest from the Dodgers. The Dodgers have said in recent days that they are looking to bolster their starting rotation, but would probably not go after a star pitcher. Lackey is 11-7, with a 3.60 ERA in 21 starts for the Red Sox this season.
The Dodgers and Red Sox have trades in recent years, most notably in 2012 when the Red Sox traded Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett to the Dodgers for a number of prospects, including Allen Webster, who is currently ranked as the Red Sox number-two pitching prospect on MLB.com.