BOSTON (CBS) — The Jon Lester trade discussions are getting serious.

According to ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Red Sox “have contacted every contender that’s looking for a starter and let all of them know Lester could be available for a two- or three-player package fronted by at least one upper-echelon prospect.”

In the American League, the races for the Central and West remain tight (assuming the Red Sox won’t trade Lester within the division), while all three National League division leaders have leads of two games or fewer. Six AL teams are within five games of a wild-card spot, and five NL teams are within seven games. So the market for Lester figures to be pretty deep.

The news does not come as a great surprise, considering a Lester-for-Matt Kemp trade discussion was reported over the weekend. However, Stark’s report indicates that the Red Sox aren’t taking things lightly ahead of Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline.

Stark noted that the market for starting pitchers is a “wasteland,” thereby allowing the Red Sox to ask for a lot in return for their ace.

Stark also pointed out that Lester’s comments about wanting to stay in Boston would keep alive the possibility that Lester sign with the Red Sox after the 2014 season, even if he spends the final two months of the season with a different team.

Lastly, Stark noted that the Red Sox would be willing to trade just about any veteran nearing free agency, except for Koji Uehara.


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