Yankees Trade Rumors: Latest on New York's Pursuit of Jon Lester and More

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2014

The New York Yankees are currently looking up at the Baltimore Orioles and the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League East race, but there probably aren’t a lot of squads feeling sorry for the Bronx Bombers. 

Still, New York is a piece or two away from a run at the playoffs, and the trade deadline is the ideal time to make those moves. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the latest rumors surrounding the Yankees.

 

Jon Lester

Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com filled fans in on the latest regarding Jon Lester:

Of those [interested teams], a source indicated, Toronto has been the most aggressive in its interest.

With Lester a short-term rental -- he's eligible for free agency after the season -- the Red Sox won't be dissuaded from trading him within the division, although that willingness doesn't extend to the rival New York Yankees.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Red Sox have no interest in dealing a game-changer such as Lester to their chief rivals. The Yankees can throw loads of money at Lester when he is a free agent after the season is over, and if he were to help lead them to the postseason this year after a trade, there could be interest in staying put.

Yes, Boston likely wants an impressive package in return for Lester, but helping the Yankees in the process could come back to haunt the Red Sox when they are ready to compete again.

Interestingly, Lester’s agent, Seth Levinson, shot down rumors that Boston wants to trade the lefty because of his pricey demands, via Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com: "The discussions we had with the Red Sox were confidential and will remain that way. There is no truth to the report, and I am not going to guess why it was written or the basis for that report." 

If Lester is demanding big-time money, the Yankees could provide that. However, they would likely love to get him through trade to help out this season.

 

John Danks/Ian Kennedy

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports provided an update on New York’s quest for more starting pitching:

The Yankees are still looking at White Sox left-hander John Danks as a trade possibility in what appears to be a diminishing starters market for them.

Danks may be among the most likely rotation candidates for the Yankees, if not the most likely, as there's no evidence they're even talking to the Padres about Ian Kennedy.

We already reported on the Yankees’ interest in Danks and the possible fit, so the noteworthy thing here is the lack of conversation on Kennedy. New York has lost four of its five starting pitchers from the Opening Day roster, including Masahiro Tanaka to injury, so adding Kennedy would make some sense from a depth perspective.

He sports a 3.66 ERA with 143 strikeouts in 135.1 innings and would provide the Yankees with another arm in a position of need. However, it looks like the Bronx Bombers are more interested in landing other arms, such as Danks, for the time being.

 

Justin Masterson

Speaking of veteran arms, Joel Sherman of the New York Post brought up Justin Masterson as a potential piece for the Yankees:

Justin Masterson fits a profile very similar to that of Brandon McCarthy and Chase Headley: an accomplished player who has struggled this year, makes a good bit of money and is a free agent at the conclusion of the season unlikely to be made the qualifying offer. Oh, and, of course, he is very available.

However, when I checked with the Yankees, he was not on their radar, though they continue to look for a starter upgrade on at least Chris Capuano.

It is probably smart for New York to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to Masterson. He is dealing with a knee injury on the disabled list but is scheduled to start for Cleveland on Friday.

Yes, that is after the trade deadline, but Masterson’s $9,762,500 contract this year means he could fall through waivers and be available in August. At that point, both New York and Cleveland will have a better idea of where they stand in the playoff race, which could impact a potential trade. 

The Yankees would likely prefer to see some improvement on Masterson’s 5.51 ERA before exploring any potential deals for the veteran.

 

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