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Pirates in on Jon Lester?

The Pirates are slugging it out in a tough race in the National League Central, and they may be working on adding an All-Star to their rotation. Yahoo Sports reported Tuesday that the Pirates are emerging on the periphery of the talks to acquire Jon Lester from Boston.

Several teams have been linked to Lester in the last few weeks, and the southpaw is thriving with a 10-7 record and a 2.52 ERA for the Red Sox this season. Lester, who can be a free agent after the season, has said that he’d consider going back to Boston even if he’s traded.

The Pirates should have Gerritt Cole returning from the disabled list in August, so adding Lester could really give the team an additional boost. Lester could cost Pittsburgh heavy-hitting prospect Josh Bell, a former second-round draftee who was recently promoted to Double-A.

– Spencer Fordin

Yankees add Headley in three-player deal

The Yankees made a move to bolster their starting lineup Tuesday, when they dealt Yangervis Solarte and Rafael De Paula to San Diego for Chase Headley.

Headley, formerly the longest-tenured Padre, will give the Yankees an experienced switch-hitter who has won both a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger in his big-league career. Headley won both of those awards in 2012, when he finished fifth in the National League’s MVP balloting.

Headley is batting just .229 with seven home runs for the Padres this season, and that follows a season that saw him hit .250 with 13 homers in 141 games. Headley is a .266 hitter with a .366 on-base percentage and 87 home runs and 401 RBIs in 908 games.

Solarte batted .254 with a .337 on-base percentage in 75 games for the Yankees, and he’ll give the Padres a younger option at the hot corner.

De Paula, a right-handed pitcher, was originally signed by the Yankees out of the Dominican Republic. De Paula, 23 years old, is 6-5 with a 4.15 ERA for Class A Tampa this year.

– Spencer Fordin

Kershaw nearing lucrative extension?

The Dodgers and Clayton Kershaw may be making progress on a lucrative contract extension that would keep the left-hander with Los Angeles for the next decade. MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reported that Kershaw, the two-time National League Cy Young Award-winner, could reach an extension that pays him as much as $30 million per season for 10 seasons.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports also reported that the two sides are making progress, and Rosenthal said that the Dodgers want the deal to be done by Friday, which is the date that teams and players eligible for arbitration must exchange contract proposals.

Kershaw, who is eligible for free agency for the first time following the 2014 season, is coming off a campaign in which he led the league in ERA (1.83) and set career bests in innings pitched (236) and walks per nine innings (2.0). Kershaw, who will turn 26 years old in March, was drafted seventh overall by the Dodgers in 2006 and has spent his entire career with Los Angeles.

– Spencer Fordin

An Offer for Fielder?

The line to sign Prince Fielder may start in Seattle. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reported Tuesday that the Mariners have made Fielder an offer to continue his career in the American League West, the same division that snapped up Albert Pujols earlier this month.

Fielder, an All-Star in three of the last five years, has hit at least 32 home runs in five straight seasons. Fielder is the son of former All-Star Cecil Fielder, and together, they are the only father-son combo to hit for at least 50 home runs in a big-league season.

The younger Fielder, a former first-round draftee, batted .282 and drilled 230 homers and 656 RBIs in his first seven seasons with Milwaukee. The hulking first baseman matched his career high with a .299 batting average last year, and he established a new personal best with a .415 OBP. Fielder has walked at least 100 times in three straight seasons, and for his career, he’s a .279 hitter on the road.

Fielder, just 27 years old, is reportedly seeking a long-term contract that approaches the 10-year deal Pujols signed with Los Angeles earlier in the winter. The Cubs and Rangers may also be potential suitors for Fielder, and Heyman reported Tuesday that the Orioles may also be involved.

– Spencer Fordin

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