Royals have discussed trading prospect Wil Myers for James Shields or Jon Lester

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UPDATE: Rob Bradford of WEEI.com confirms that the Red Sox and Royals have talked about a possible Lester-for-Myers swap. The two clubs have also discussed scenarios that would send outfield help to Kansas City and pitching to Boston, but nothing is considered close.

8:34 PM: We heard late last week that the Royals have dangled top prospect outfielder Wil Myers in trade talks as they try to land a top starting pitcher. Now we have some more specifics.

According to Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, the Royals have discussed flipping Myers in deals involving Rays right-hander James Shields and Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester.

While the Royals are reluctant to deal him, it appears doing so could net either Shields or Lester, each of whom was an All-Star as recently as 2011. The problem: Both are expensive and on track to become free agents in two years.

Both deals have been discussed, but neither appears close at the moment. Other players could be involved, but the basic framework would be Myers for one of the two pitchers. At this point, all sides — the Royals, Rays and Red Sox — remain hesitant.

And rightfully so, especially from the Royals’ perspective. While general manager Dayton Moore appears determined to add a frontline starting pitcher to complement Jeremy Guthrie and Ervin Santana, trading one of the top position prospects in the game for two years of team control on Shields or Lester isn’t an ideal scenario. Not to mention that the Royals would likely have to find a way to move some salary off the books in order to acquire either of them.

Shields, who turns 31 next month, posted a 3.52 ERA and 223/58 K/BB ratio over 227 2/3 innings this past season. He’s set to make $9 million in 2013 while his contract includes a $12 million club option for 2014.

As for Lester, he’s coming off a down year where he posted a career-high 4.82 ERA and 166/68 K/BB ratio over 205 1/3 innings. The southpaw turns 29 in January and is set to make $11.625 million in 2013. His contract includes a $13 million club option for 2014, but he can void it if he is traded and finishes either first or second in the Cy Young balloting in 2013.

Buyers and Sellers at the Trade Deadline: American League Central

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With Manny Machado’s trade completed, the rest of baseball can now turn its attention to the non-blue chip players on the market.

Yesterday, in our look-ahead to the second half, we mentioned some of the top players likely to be made available. Today we look at each team to see who is buying, who is selling, what they’re seeking and what they have to offer. Note: almost every contender, always, needs relief help.

As a reminder, the non-waiver Trade Deadline is July 31. Players traded after that date but before August 31 need to pass through waivers unclaimed before they can be traded. All players traded before August 31 are eligible to be on their new team’s playoff roster should they make the postseason.

Next up, the American League Central:

Indians
Status: Buyers
Wanted: Bullpen help, bullpen help and then, maybe, some bullpen help. Who woulda thunk that a year or two ago? They could also use a spare outfielder. Everyone is gonna ask for righty Shane Bieber in return but it’d be hard to see the Indians trading him at all. Look for small deals, not big ones.

Twins
Status: Probably sellers
For Sale: Not a ton as, while they have underachieved this year, there is a good young core on this team that the Twins are going to give a chance to bounce back. Brian Dozier could be moved, though, as could the finishing-piece veterans the Twins brought in thinking that they’d contend this year. Guys like Fernando Rodney and Lance Lynn could be dealt. No blockbusters seem likely to run through Minnesota, however.

Tigers
Staus: Sellers
For Sale: Vetrans Francisco Liriano and Mike Fiers could be had and, if the Tigers decide to do bigger deals, they could dangle starter Michael Fulmer or maybe even Nicholas Castellanos, though they could be considered pieces to build around rather than to deal. The Tigers need projectable and controllable bats and plenty of them.


White Sox
Status: Sellers
For Sale: Possibly Jose Abreu, though he’s probably worth more to Chicago than to the market. James Shields, Joakim Soria and Avasail Garcia could be had. Basically, if you can’t picture them playing on the 2020 White Sox, they’re at least worth asking about.

Royals
Status: Sellers
For Sale: Moustakas, Lucas Duda, maybe Jason Hammel if the market for starters goes crazy. It’s a rebuild footing for Kansas City, so it’s like a going-out-of-business sale at Woolworth’s circa 1990. If you ask for it, you can probably get it.