Monday was a busy day for those with vesting interests in the MLB trade deadline. The pitching market grew with news that Red Sox ace Jon Lester is now expected to be traded. Lester postponed contract talks with the Red Sox after receiving what his camp considered to be a low ball offer almost a week ago. ESPN’s Buster Olney reported on Twitter that the Dodger’s have great interest in the righty, but after showing obvious interest in David Price, the Cardinals may be interested in Lester due to an expected lower asking price than the Rays asking for Price.
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
Apparently Lester isn’t the only Boston pitcher on the market. Red Sox also made it known, as reported by Ken Rosenthal according to his sources, that both Lester and Lackey will be available for the right price. The price of either seems to be fluctuating as the Red Sox continue to lose and reality begins to set in that they may need to retool for next season.
Source: #RedSox open to trading BOTH Lester and Lackey for right returns.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 29, 2014
Lester is currently 10-7 with a 2.52 ERA, while Lackey is quietly putting together a nice season with an 11-7 record and an ERA of 3.60. Lester is a free agent at the end of the season and may be a simple rental for the Cardinals, or any other club interested. Either pitcher would make sense for the Cardinals as they look for stability and depth with uncertainty of a return from Michael Wacha.
The Philadelphia Phillies also seemed to change their stance on trading leftie ace Cole Hamels. After announcing twice in the last two weeks that the prized pitcher would not be available for trade, news broke that the club had changed its stance today. Hamels, however, is due about $110 million over the next 5 years and it appears that the Phillies asking price is astounding.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) July 28, 2014
Phillies are also expected to deal veteran Cliff Lee for the right price, although interest in the leftie may be subsiding as he comes off of an injury and has struggled since his return from the DL. Lee, however, could be a cost efficient move for the Cardinals and may be worth a look.
Along with Hamels, Lester, Lee, and Lackey, it’s believed that the Tampa Bay Rays will still trade David Price if the offer is right. What’s the right offer? Some expect Price to be available for two top prospects of an organization, possibly along with a current rostered player. For the Cardinals, that could mean Oscar Taveras, Carlos Martinez, Kolten Wong, Shelby Miller, Randall Grichuk, Marco Gonzales, or Stephen Piscotty.
The Cardinals also sent a scout to the Mets-Phillies game on Monday. The matchup of Bartolo Colon and AJ Burnett paired two starters most likely on the move before Thursday’s deadline. It’s not apparent which of the pitchers the Cardinals were looking at, but both are veterans that could bring leadership and ability to the staff.
With so many names available, and with the Cardinals many prospects, a deal for any could get done, although the best bet is on a smaller name being brought in so not to mortgage the future. Taking a cheaper trade option would also allow for the Cardinals to make a deal for a bat to improve the struggling offense.