Pirates have their own deadline for Lester deal

The Pirates continue to chat with the Red Sox about getting the pitcher they want without giving up what Boston wants.

Not only do the Bucs want to land left-hander Jon Lester, they want to bag him quickly. Forget Thursday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline; the Pirates have their own deadline – 7 p.m. ET tomorrow, before Lester takes his scheduled turn in Fenway Park against Toronto.

Lester is a difference maker, and if things work out, the Pirates don’t want him using up any more bullets in Boston.

Pittsburgh general manager Neal Huntington’s refusal to part with top prospects for a two-month rental — Lester will be a free agent after the season, and the Bucs couldn’t even afford the deal he has already turned  down from the Red Sox — makes the players most coveted by the Red Sox off limits. Tyler Glasnow, Nick Kingham, Jameson Taillon, Josh Bell and Austin Meadows are not on the table.

Boston’s desperate move for Stephen Drew failed, and the Bucs are trying to drum up their interest in Alen Hanson. Hot Single-A outfielder Jacoby Jones (16 homers at West Virginia) is also in the conversation, and Major League vet Jose Tabata — still only 25 — is a wild card in the talks.

Lester could only be the starting point of any business with the Red Sox. During Spring Training, the Pirates had interest in Mike Carp, the left-handed hitting first baseman / outfielder who has burned his Boston bridges by recently requesting a trade. The Bucs also have interest in virtually the entire Red Sox bullpen.

The situation described here can also apply to another lefty, David Price. And the Rays have recently had scouts watching Double-A Altoona (Bell and Hanson are both with the Curve). However, if their current hot streak hasn’t changed the Rays’ minds about dealing Price, it has at the very least escalated his price out of what the Pirates would consider.

Tom Singer

21 Comments

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Jacoby Jones plays shortstop not outfield.

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