The Orioles weren’t close to acquiring Boston Red Sox right-hander Jon Lester on Wednesday — one club source said bluntly, “it’s not going to happen” — but executive vice president Dan Duquette continues to work the phones as the nonwaiver trade deadline approaches at 4 p.m. today.
The club continues to actively search for pitching — with a left-handed reliever that can get out hitters from both sides of the plate as one of the top priorities, according to several sources.
“We have a couple of active discussions,” Duquette said before Wednesday’s game. “We have some discussions that are no longer active from [Tuesday], so we’ve been able to see where we can make a trade and help our ballclub.”
On Wednesday afternoon, Duquette was asked specifically about Lester, the Red Sox ace and a pending free agent who was scratched from his start and is expected to be traded by the deadline. A few media outlets reported earlier in the afternoon that the Orioles were having serious negotiations with the Red Sox about Lester.
“That would be news to me,” Duquette said.
Several sources also quickly shot down the idea of the Orioles and Red Sox being close to a deal for Lester.
Landing Lester — or any ace — would take a package of top prospects, something Duquette reiterated Wednesday that he didn’t want to do. He did, however, say that he hasn’t completely dismissed acquiring a top pitcher, a slightly different stance from when he met with the media Tuesday.
“We’d be interested in adding pitchers that could help us at the top of our rotation. Who wouldn’t be?” Duquette said.
With Low-A Delmarva right-hander Hunter Harvey now shut down for the season with an elbow injury and right-hander Dylan Bundy returning from elbow surgery, two of the Orioles' top four pitching prospects have injury questions.
But Duquette wasn’t eager to move them anyway.
“I think with our young pitchers we would be conservative, and we would try and give them a prolonged trial in the big leagues before we would trade them,” Duquette said.