NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- According to a major league source, the Red Sox and Mets have had "very preliminary" talks regarding the availability of reigning NL Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey in a trade. The source said that the two teams had not discussed the specific prospects whom it would take to land Dickey, but said that -- consistent with a report from ESPNBoston.com's Joe McDonald  that the Mets wanted Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr. -- the Mets would be aiming for that level of elite prospect in any deal involving the knuckleballer, who went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and an NL-leading 230 strikeouts in 233 2/3 innings in 2012.
However, multiple major league sources characterized the possibility of a trade of Dickey to the Sox as extremely unlikely. Indeed, a second major league source said that the Sox have had no serious internal discussions about landing the knuckleballer.
The Sox do continue to explore the market for a fifth starter. GM Ben Cherington said, in general terms rather than regarding any specific pitcher, that the team is weighing the cost in dollars of free agents vs. the possibility of trading for a more inexpensive option.
“If a team is going to move someone, especially if there’s any length of control, asking for a lot, as we would if we were talking about someone,” said Cherington. “It’s steep and I think teams, and I put us in this category, are trying to balance that vs, the free agent options. The free agent options, some of them might cost a little more money but require less talent, so we’re just trying to balance those options, and weigh those options.”
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Rob Bradford contributed to this report.