Let's just get your first question out of the way:

No, the Red Sox [team stats] could not have pulled off Sunday's Rays-Royals trade with Jon Lester [stats]. As good as Lester is (or has been), Kansas City valued the combo of James Shields and Wade Davis higher than him, since that's potentially two impact starters (being optimistic on Davis) as opposed to one.

We might never know exactly how far talks with the Royals progressed, since the Sox do not wish to alienate a player as important to the 2013 club as Lester. What we do know is the sides held at least cursory talks, initiated by the Royals, about a deal involving Lester and Triple-A outfielder Wil Myers.

That kind of trade is a tough sell for a team like the Red Sox, who already have dealt Marco Scutaro, Kevin Youkilis [stats], Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett [stats] in the past year. Adding Lester to that list, even for a prospect as prized as Myers (Baseball America's 2012 Minor League Player of the Year), might work in a vacuum, but not when you're trying to give the impression of contending in 2013, with the fans, NESN, limited partners and corporate partners to placate.

But what if the package of prospects was the same one the Rays received, which included not only Myers but highly regarded right-hander Jake Odorizzi, lefty Mike Montgomery and infielder Patrick Leonard?