8:51pm: A Major League source confirmed to WEEI's Rob Bradford that the two teams have indeed discusseda trade that would center around Lester and Myers. According to Bradford, the talks also included the possibility of Boston sending outfield help to Kansas City with some pitching heading back to the Red Sox. He echoes that nothing is close.
6:55pm: The Royals have already added Ervin Santana to their rotation and brought back Jeremy Guthrie this offseason, but Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star writes that general manager Dayton Moore would like to add one more impact arm to his rotation. According to Dutton, Moore's preference is to acquire that arm by dealing prospects rather than Major League talent, and there have been discussions about using top prospect Wil Myers to acquire James Shields or Jon Lester.
Dutton writes that the Royals are currently weighing whether or not six years of Myers is worth two years of either Lester or Shields. One Royals source told Dutton that it's easy to project Myers as a 30-homer bat at the Major League level within the next two-to-three seasons. At the moment, the Royals, Red Sox and Rays are all said to be hesitant, and no deal is close.
Beyond the debate of which commodity is worth more, the Royals also need to consider their 2013 payroll. Barring a significant increase, the team would have to clear money in order to acquire either contract for next season. That, writes Dutton, could mean moving Bruce Chen's contract and/or taking a "hard look" at Luke Hochevar and Felipe Paulino. Both are due significant raises in arbitration, as Matt Swartz recently projected for MLBTR.
Myers ranks as the Royals' top prospect according to Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus and MLB.com. The 22-year-old batted .314/.387/.600 with 37 homers between Double-A and Triple-A last season, cementing himself as one of the game's most coveted minor leaguers.
Jeff Francoeur currently projects as Kansas City's right fielder but is coming off a dreadful season in which he hit just .235/.287/.378. The Royals would need to be confident that Francoeur could return to his 2011 numbers if they were to trade Myers, and even still would have a hole in right field beyond 2013.