The Red Sox announced that left-hander Jon Lester has been scratched from his start on Wednesday night, meaning that the team feels that there is a good chance that a trade gets done before first pitch. As Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports, the Sox do not currently have a satisfactory trade proposal for Lester, but they felt that it was best to scratch him to give the acquiring team an extra start from him if a deal gets done.
As Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com reported late Tuesday night, six teams are still in the mix for Lester: the Pirates, Cardinals, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Orioles and Athletics. Out of that group, the Dodgers, Cardinals and Pirates seem to be the most likely destinations due to the Orioles' and Blue Jays' status as AL East rivals of the Red Sox, and because the Athletics have a depleted farm system in wake of an earlier blockbuster that sent top prospects Addison Russell and Billy McKinney to the Cubs for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
As Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reported, the Blue Jays and Orioles seem like unlikely landing spots for Lester, but both teams could offer overly-attractive prospect packages if they felt that the need for a top-of-the-rotation piece was enough to warrant mortgaging the future. Baltimore has shown an unwillingness to deal top pitching prospects like Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Hunter Harvey, and Toronto has been reluctant to talk about Daniel Norris or Aaron Sanchez in any trade talks this summer.
With Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and St. Louis seeming like the three most probable destinations for Lester, the Red Sox will undoubtedly work hard over the next two days to receive the best possible package of prospects for their ace. Joc Pederson and Julio Urias (Dodgers), Oscar Taveras and Stephen Piscotty (Cardinals) and Josh Bell and Alen Hanson (Pirates) may be some names the Sox will look at over the next two days, with a focus on adding outfield help to a depleted corps in Boston.