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Red Sox trade rumors: Jon Lester deal looking more likely with Orioles, Mariners interested

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The chances of the left-hander being traded appear to have increased.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox are getting "hit hard" on starting pitchers Jon Lester and John Lackey, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, meaning that a deal involving Lester appears likelier than ever with less than four days to go before the trade deadline. Rob Bradford of WEEI.com writes that the Red Sox' decision on whether or not to deal Lester will come right down to the 4 p.m. deadline on Thursday, and that they are actively listening to offers on him.

According to Rosenthal and colleague Jon Morosi, the Mariners and Orioles have both reached out to the Red Sox to express interest in Lester, who has also been linked to the Dodgers in recent days. Though the Red Sox would probably have to be blown away in order to deal Lester within their division, the Orioles' strong farm system may make them re-consider with the ultimate goal being to re-sign Lester when he hits free agency this offseason.

A contract extension between the Red Sox and Lester seems almost impossible at this time, as Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that Lester's asking price is a driving force behind the team's decision to actively shop him. The Red Sox have been widely criticized for their reluctance to offer Lester a market-value contract for a pitcher of his caliber, so moving him for a few prospects may be their best chance at salvaging a difficult situation at this point.