A rival executive raises an interesting point: If the Red Sox decide to trade Jon Lester, it could undercut the Rays’ market for David Price.
The reason is simple: The acquisition cost for Lester, a potential free agent, would be less than for Price, who is under club control through next season.
The Cardinals, for example, might not want to give up Oscar Taveras-plus for Price. But say they could get Lester for another of their young outfielders, Stephen Piscotty, and a second prospect. Enticing, no?
The Mariners might be even more drawn to Lester, who is a native of Tacoma, Wa. What if they could acquire him for left-hander James Paxton and a second piece rather than give up righty Taijuan Walker and two or three others for Price? For a team with seemingly little chance of winning the AL West, that probably would make more sense.
The Rays, mind you, still would have a market if they chose to move Price, who is peaking in his age 28 season. Still, the sudden availability of Lester not only could distract current suitors, but also draw attention from teams such as the Giants, Pirates and Indians.
Adding to the intrigue? Friday night, Lester pitches against Price at Tropicana Field.