It seems like just about any Red Sox player not named David Ortiz has been linked to a trade rumor or three this season, but two of the most popular names of late are Jon Lester and Andrew Miller. SB Nation's Chris Cotillo reports that both Lester and Miller have drawn plenty of interest in the past couple weeks, and Chris knows everyone so you should believe him.
Would the Tigers be able to land either lefty?
WHY THIS MAKES SENSE
Regardless of whom ends up in Detroit, the Tigers would be adding an excellent left-handed pitcher to their bullpen. In Lester's case, Drew Smyly would be the one moving to the pen down the stretch. Both have been among the best pitchers in baseball in their respective roles, with Lester's 4.5 WAR second only to Felix Hernandez in the American League. His 4.66 strikeout-to-walk ratio is better than Max Scherzer's, and he is holding both righties and lefties to a sub-.700 OPS. He has not allowed more than two earned runs in a start since the Tigers tagged him for five runs in 4 1/3 innings on June 7th.
Miller has been dynamite since moving to the bullpen full-time in 2012. He has a 2.83 ERA and 3.28 strikeout-to-walk ratio over the past two-plus seasons, including 164 strikeouts in just 111 innings. The big lefty has been at his best this season, allowing a 2.45 ERA and 1.82 FIP. Righties are hitting just .188/.290/.271, and his .434 OPS against lefties borders on cruelty.
WHY THIS DOESN'T MAKE SENSE
The fact that both Lester and Miller are both free agents after this season can go either way when discussing trade potential. While their impending free agency can lower the price in a trade, both are likely to be too expensive for the Tigers' tastes. Lester, in particular, will draw more interest from teams who actually need a starting pitcher. Miller would be the more reasonable option, but the Tigers have not been linked to him yet either.
*Miller: 3/10; Lester: -3/10
The Red Sox are in an enviable position with Lester, who has said multiple times that he would be willing to take a discount to return to Boston as a free agent. This does not mean that he would come cheap, especially to a lacking Tigers farm system. Miller would be cheaper as a bullpen arm, but the Joakim Soria trade shows that sellers have a huge advantage at this year's trade deadline.