Over the weekend it was reported that the Boston Red Sox were considering moving Jon Lester to the LA Dodgers for Matt Kemp, with star prospect Joc Pederson deemed untouchable. Since then Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal and ESPN’s Buster Olney have reported that multiple teams have contacted the Red Sox attempting to acquire the soon-to-be free agent pitcher. For Boston it could be the ultimate win-win, as Lester has stated he would want to return to Boston even if he is traded, and as a result they could acquire a player they could use for the future while getting their ace back in the winter.

Cole Hamels was deemed untouchable by the Philadelphia Phillies for much of the past few months, however Monday ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported that he was finally available, with a hefty bounty being asked, according to several officials. Allegedly, they are asking for any team to give three of their top four prospects at a minimum, and they are only willing to pay $10 million of the over $90 million remaining on Hamels’ contract. More than likely, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. will not get both, but if he’s going to trade the 30-year old lefty it’ll be for a massive return.

The Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, St. Louis Cardinals, and Baltimore Orioles are among the teams thought to be interested in adding either Lester or Hamels, but with only until the 31st of July remaining to pull the trigger, it’s doubtful either team will be able to pull of what could be the next blockbuster. The Red Sox are thought to have made available multiple relief pitchers and John Lackey in addition to Lester, so the idea of trying to package the two starters in a deal similar to the Jeff Samardzija trade might appeal to them. But for the Phillies to move Lester will probably be tougher, due to needing to find a team with a deep enough farm system who is also willing to pay most of his salary (if it was just about the salary the Yankees would be all over that).

For argument sake, here a two offers for Lester and Hamels that could be perfect situations for both teams:

cole-hamels_jon-lester– Matt Kemp for Jon Lester (with the Dodgers agreeing to pay $70 million of Kemp’s remaining contract)- The stipulation is the only way this makes any sense for the Sox. Boston’s outfield has been a major disappointment, with Grady Sizemore and Jackie Bradley Jr. being substandard replacements for Jacoby Ellsbury, to the point where the Sox have had several top prospects, including Brock Holt and Mookie Betts learning the outfield instead of playing their natural infield positions. If they are paying Kemp only $37 million over the next five years, Kemp would be a very inexpensive lottery ticket, and if he doesn’t stay healthy or return to his past form, $7.5 million is a lot easier to stomach than over $20 million. For the Dodgers, it’s all about how much they feel they need another starter in the tough NL West race.

– OFs Allen Craig, Stephen Piscotty, Ps Shelby Miller, Carlos Martinez, and Marco Gonzalez from the Cardinals for Hamels- This is similar to some of the trades I’ve written involving the Cardinals and pitchers the last few weeks. Will the Cardinals make a move? They’ve proven in the past they aren’t shy about taking on salary, and would part with prospects for the right player. Piscotty and Gonzalez are among the Cards top five prospects, while Miller and Martinez would instantly revitalize a failing starting rotation, and Craig would help in the outfield and could spell Ryan Howard if needed. I have to believe this one’s all on the Cards.

– OF Gabriel Guerrero and P James Paxton from the Seattle Mariners for Lester- Seattle’s been itching for a trade, and as long as they don’t have to give up Tajuan Walker, they’d be in on Lester. Paxton has been hurt most of the season, but he is 5-0 in six big league starts with opponents hitting .164 off of him so far, and he’s due back the first week of August. Vladimir Guerrero’s nephew is a few years away, but appears to be developing with more experience. It’s about whether Seattle will pull the trigger, and whether Boston would accept a trade without Walker, but this makes sense for both teams.

– Ps Lou Severino, Ian Clarkin, 3B Eric Jagielo, Cs JR Murphy and Luis Torrens from the Yankees for Hamels- Because it’s the Yankees, this is possible. When Masahiro Tanaka went down, I mentioned that I thought the Yankees needed to do something like this for David Price, and before that, I mentioned that Hamels might be someone they should go after. The downside for the Yankees is that they are bringing in a guy who will be 35 when his contract is up, and he will probably decline during the course of the contract, like so many players they currently have. And with CC Sabathia still under contract for three more years at over $70 million owed, this might be the one the Yankees avoid. But if they offer this package; outside of Murphy all are at least three years away from the majors, but its three of their top four prospects, with Torrens being ranked #11 overall. Will the Yankees pay the cost?

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