Might the Cardinals be a darkhorse in the Jon Lester sweepstakes? Jim Bowden of ESPN and SiriusXM says they are “in pursuit,” citing a club source.
St. Louis just unloaded some of its rotation depth on Monday afternoon, acquiring outfielder Jason Heyward and relief pitcher Jordan Walden from the Braves for Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins. That still leaves the Cardinals with six legitimate starters for 2015 between Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn, John Lackey, Carlos Martinez, and Marco Gonzales, but Wainwright needed elbow surgery in late October and Wacha battled shoulder issues for much of the 2014 season. So maybe there’s something to this.
Martinez and Gonzales could both begin 2015 in relief roles if Lester is brought in.
Lester is also drawing serious interest from the Red Sox, Cubs, and Braves. The 30-year-old southpaw had a 2.46 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, and 220/48 K/BB ratio in 219 2/3 innings this season between Boston and Oakland.
Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale has been placed on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, the club revealed Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to August 14. In a corresponding roster move, right-handed reliever Ryan Brasier was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket.
It’s an alarming development for the 30-year-old ace, who has been remarkably injury-free after dealing with a lingering case of shoulder inflammation last summer. While he hasn’t replicated the career-high results he delivered over the last two seasons, he still leads Red Sox pitchers with 3.6 fWAR and will head to the IL with a 6-11 record in 25 starts, a 4.40 ERA, 2.3 BB/9, and league-best 13.3 SO/9 through 147 1/3 innings. A timetable has not been given for his return, nor has the severity of his injury been disclosed. Per Red Sox president Dave Dombrowski, Sale has been experiencing pain in his elbow since Wednesday and will undergo further evaluation in the days to come.
Brasier, 31, was optioned to Triple-A Pawtucket in mid-July after pitching to mixed results in the majors. He currently holds a 4.46 ERA, 2.7 BB/9, and 8.0 SO/9 with the Red Sox, though his results in Triple-A — one run, one walk, and 13 strikeouts over 9 1/3 innings — suggest that he might be capable of even sharper results when he rejoins the big league club.