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Jon Lester likely to be dealt, Pirates could be frontrunners

The Red Sox are keeping ace pitcher Jon Lester on the sidelines Wednesday as they try to find a trade package to their liking.

Jim Rogash

The Red Sox are collecting offers from multiple teams on left-handed starter Jon Lester and seem intent on dealing him, according to Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe.

The team has gone as far as to line up a replacement starter -- Brandon Workman -- for their game against the Blue Jays on Wednesday, per WEEI. Workman will in fact start in place of Lester, the team announced Tuesday night. That could be, in part, because of Boston's newfound belief that it has little to no shot of re-signing Lester, tweets Yahoo! Sports' Jeff Passan.

Here is what we know about the trade talk surrounding the 30-year-old veteran, who owns a 2.52 ERA/155 ERA+ in 21 starts this year.

Pirates are the darkhorse favorite

Pittsburgh has the kind of top-shelf prospects the Red Sox are looking for and might be dangling Josh Bellwrites Passan.

Bell, a 21-year-old outfielder, entered Tuesday hitting .321/.373/.469 in two minor league stops and is's No. 33 overall prospect. It's possible Bell might not be the centerpiece of a potential deal, tweets ESPN's Boston's Gordon Edes, but pitchers Tyler Glasnow or Jameson Taillon -- the 20th- and 32nd-ranked prospects in the game -- certainly could be.

Regardless of which players are being talked about (25-year-old Triple-A outfielder Jose Tabata could be one of them), Pittsburgh prefers to get a deal done by 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, reports's Tom Singer.

Don't count out the Dodgers

There probably isn't a more aggressive team in discussions involving Lester than the Dodgers, according to's Jayson Stark. However, the NL West leaders are hesitant to top with any of their top three prospects -- Joc Pederson, Corey Seager or Julio Urias -- in a trade that will net them only a rental player, notes Stark.

At least one of those players would have to be included in a deal for Lester or any other top-flight arm, writes Joel Sherman of the New York Post, so perhaps a deal with the Red Sox that includes an additional player is a possibility unless Los Angeles changes its mind on one or more of its highly touted youngsters, all of which rank ahead of the Pirates' top three minor leaguers.

Brewers, Orioles also in the mix

Along with the Pirates and Dodgers, the AL East-leading Orioles and NL Central-leading Brewers are in the mix for Lester, according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman. The Brewers probably have the least of any of the four teams in terms of desirable assets, although Heyman says they have more pieces now than in recent years. The Orioles have quite a bit to offer in top pitching prospects Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey and young MLB hurler Kevin Gausman, among others.

Rangers not involved in talks

Texas, which has the worst record in baseball, predictably won't be in on Lester, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. The Rangers aren't going anywhere in 2014, and though they are in need of an upgrade in their starting rotation and have the money and prospects to make a deal, they would prefer to address their needs in the offseason.