"No deal yet," a major league source with direct knowledge of Lester trade talks said Tuesday night. "He could still pitch Friday for the Red Sox against the Yankees."
"I think in light of all the uncertainty surrounding Jon Lester, it's probably in everyone's best interest that he not make that start, so Brandon will be recalled," Farrell said.
The manager added Wednesday afternoon that he expected Lester at the game and that the team had not yet made a move to add Workman to the roster. A move is necessary before the 7:10 p.m. start time.
Lester left the clubhouse immediately after Tuesday's game, before it was opened to the media. Another source close to Lester said no one from the Red Sox had said a word to either the pitcher or his agent, Seth Levinson, regarding a trade Tuesday night.
Lester took to Twitter on Wednesday:
Thank you all for the kind words! Tough situation to be in but it's what we sign up for and I find comfort knowing we're in this together!- Jon Lester (@JLester31) July 30, 2014
Farrell had taken the highly unusual step of announcing before Tuesday's game that in the event Lester was traded, Workman would draw the start. Customarily, teams do not announce contingencies in the event of a trade, announcing roster moves only after a deal is consummated. That only fueled speculation that a deal was close.
The Pittsburgh Pirates emerged Tuesday as a potential trading partner for Lester, with a source confirming that the Sox have had talks with the Pirates regarding the left-hander.
"Don't count out the Pirates,'' said one source with knowledge of those talks.
The same source added: "Lots of teams are still in it."
There are six teams still in the running, the source said, listing them in no particular order: the Pirates, Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Red Sox are seeking two top prospects in return and are particularly interested in outfielders.
"They're using what the Cubs got back from Oakland for [Jeff] Samardzija as their model," an industry source said Tuesday. "They got Oakland's top prospect [Addison Russell] and another No. 1 pick."
The difference, of course, is that while Lester is regarded as a better pitcher with a longer track record, he is a two-month rental, while Samardzija is a full year away from free agency. Still, Lester could be a difference-maker for any contender.
If the Red Sox are looking for outfield prospects in return, the Pirates would seem to match up well, led by 21-year-old Josh Bell, a switch-hitting slugger just promoted to Double-A after tearing up Class A Bradenton with a .335 average, and 2013 first-round draft pick Austin Meadows, a 19-year-old left-handed hitter judged to have the system's best strike zone discipline by Baseball America.