Dodgers, Cardinals may lead race for top deadline pitchers Lester, Price

Jon Lester was scratched from Wednesday's start, further fueling trade speculation. (USATSI)
Jon Lester was scratched from Wednesday's start, further fueling trade speculation. (USATSI)

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The Cardinals and Dodgers, two NL powers, appear to be the teams most aggressively competing for the market's top pitchers, Jon Lester and David Price, people familiar with the situation suggest.

St. Louis and LA seem fairly determined to land another front-line starter and word is both teams have remained in on both big pitchers.

However, it's possible only one of the two prized pitchers may be traded.

Lester appears extremely likely to be traded, as he has been scratched from his start Wednesday. Price's situation is less certain with Tampa Bay rallying, though a Rays source said Tuesday they are "talking and willing" to trade Price despite the team's hot streak and standing on the cusp of the AL East race.

The Brewers and Pirates could still be involved to some degree for Lester, as well, as was noted here Tuesday. However, Pittsburgh is one team that's reluctant to surrender top prospects for a rental, seeming to place them third in the derby.

The Orioles, which made a run at Lester, doesn't appear to be in the mix now.

The Dodgers and Cardinals have been talking to the Rays for weeks about Price too. It was reported by USA Today the Cardinals may have offered top hitting prospect Oscar Taveras and young starter Shelby Miller in a package for Price, who's value is a bit higher than Lester's because Price can't become a free agent until the end of next year while Lester becomes a free agent after this season.

The Dodgers also have excellent prospects, led by shortstop Corey Seager, outfielder Joc Pederson and pitchers Julio Urias and Chris Anderson.

The Dodgers are concerned about how veteran Josh Beckett and Dan Haren will finish the season, while the Cardinals were hit hard by injuries to Jaime Garcia and Michael Wacha.

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