Southpaws add intrigue to Thursday’s “Baseball Tonight: Trade Deadline Special”

Jon Lester (Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images)
The potential of Jon Lester being moved adds even more intrigue to the MLB trade deadline. (Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images)

We’re closing in on one of the most exciting days on the Major League Baseball calendar: trade deadline day.

The 2014 MLB trade deadline is Thursday at 4 p.m. ET, and ESPN’s army of MLB Insiders and commentators are glued to their phones and tablets, gathering information and reporting news to baseball fans. ESPN’s coverage of the MLB trade deadline is highlighted by its “Baseball Tonight: Trade Deadline Special” on Thursday at 3 p.m.

Several ESPN commentators took a few moments out of their hectic, around-the-clock schedules to discuss what they’re looking forward to at this year’s deadline:

Buster Olney: “Jon Lester and David Price are the biggest names in play, and it will surprise a whole lot of people in the game if the Los Angeles Dodgers don’t land one of those two stars. The Dodgers have the resources, they have the motivation and they have the desire for star power.”

Tim Kurkjian: “To me, the trade deadline is all about left-handed pitching. It’s about Price, Lester, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee. I think, of that group, only maybe Lester is going to move but the thought of having four left-handers, all difference-makers, out there will make the next day or so very interesting.”

Jayson Stark: “The best thing that happened to this deadline was the Red Sox turning into sellers. Until that happened, once the Rays got hot, I was starting to worry that the biggest names to get traded were going to be Josh Willingham and Ian Kennedy. Now we’ve added Lester to the mix, which is incredible. The Phillies, by my count, have nine players they’d talk about moving – and concerns they might not be able to move more than one or two, or even none, before the deadline, because of age, contracts and what they want back.”

Jim Bowden: “The trade deadline drama will continue to be centered on the three lefty aces in Lester, Hamels and Price with Lester the most likely dealt. Of all the buyers, the Cardinals, Dodgers and Mariners are gaining the most attention and for sellers all eyes are on the Phillies. The sleeper team to watch is the Brewers.”

Manny Acta: “To me, due to Price’s price tag, Jorge De La Rosa is the perfect fit for just about every team in contention.”

Keith Law: “The team with the biggest need to do something is Milwaukee. They’ve played .500 ball since the start of May, but are still in prime position to make the playoffs. Toronto also needs to add a starter, both to improve the rotation and pick up the slack if/when Marcus Stroman and Drew Hutchison show signs of fatigue in September. At least one team that’s ostensibly in contention – within three games of a playoff spot, for instance – will end up selling. Cleveland might be smart enough to capitalize on a market where demand outstrips supply.”

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