Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel are off the market. The Rays are trying to give off the perception that they are contenders (they are not) and might not be willing to trade David Price this year.
So what do contending general managers who need an ace pitcher do? Call Ben Cherington.
Jon Lester is having a career year, on pace to set career bests in ERA, BB/9, HR/9, WHIP and FIP. Lester has been particularly strong lately, going 4-0 with an 0.85 ERA over his last seven starts.
Lester is a free agent after this season, and extension talks have been put on hold after they got somewhat contentious when the Red Sox came in entirely too low in early negotiations. It's almost hard to imagine, but it appears that Lester, a member of the Red Sox his entire career, will likely be in a different uniform in 2015.
Whatever the Red Sox can get in a trade will be significantly better than any draft pick they get for losing Lester to free agency. And who knows? Maybe they get lucky and re-sign their ace this off-season. Regardless, it makes zero sense for the Red Sox to not trade him at this point.
Ben Cherington's phone should be ringing off the hook.