Sources: Royals have had talks with Lester’s agents

Jon Lester, a three-time All-Star, was 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA in 32 starts in 2014. 

Jerry Lai/Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Royals have had preliminary discussions with the agents for free-agent left-hander Jon Lester, according to sources close to the situation.

Also, a representative from ACES Baseball Agency, which represents Lester, was believed to have been in Kansas City on Wednesday night.

But a source close to the situation cautioned, "I don’t know how much I would read into that."

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he prefers not to discuss specific players the team may covet.

"We are talking to everyone at this point," Moore said by phone. "We are trying to determine what the best direction is for our organization in regards to available players. That’s all I can really say."

Lester, who will turn 31 in January, is regarded as one of the top-tier free-agent pitchers on the market, along with right-hander Max Scherzer.

Lester is expected to command a multi-year contract in the $120 million range, seemingly well out of the Royals’ financial reach.

But as one rival executive said this week, "(The Royals) aren’t being shy."

Lester, a three-time All-Star, was 16-11 with a 2.46 ERA in 32 starts in 2014, splitting time between Boston and Oakland.

The Royals actually may have a personal inroad with Lester — he is Royals manager Ned Yost’s neighbor on an adjacent farm in Georgia. Yost has been occasional hunting partners with Lester as well.

You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at jeffreyflanagan6@gmail.com.