Trade chatter intensifies
What we’re hearing, six days before the trading deadline:
• The Red Sox continue to track Cleveland’s Victor Martinez(notes), the switch-hitting catcher and first baseman who would give the team’s dormant offense an immediate lift while giving GM Theo Epstein a valuable piece for the future. The Adam LaRoche(notes) deal has no impact on the Red Sox’s interest in Martinez, but so far Boston reportedly is unwilling to give up Clay Buchholz(notes). This trade makes too much sense for the Red Sox for it not to happen. The All-Star Martinez will wear out the Green Monster, he could be the team’s first baseman (and less likely, their catcher) for years to come, and he’s terrific in the clubhouse, especially with Latin players and young players. GM Mark Shapiro will extract a high price, but there’s a match to be made here.
• Any hopes the Phillies had of substituting Carlos Carrasco(notes) for either of the pitchers, Kyle Drabek or J.A. Happ(notes), that the Blue Jays want for Roy Halladay(notes) probably expired Friday night, when Carrasco was lit up in front of Toronto scout Tony LaCava while pitching for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Carrasco gave up six runs on four hits and four walks in six innings against the Gwinnett Braves. That included a three-run home run in the sixth by Brian Barton(notes).
• The Angels did indeed make a run at Halladay, offering Jered Weaver(notes) plus the Blue Jays’ pick of outfield or infield prospects, including Brandon Wood(notes), but it wasn’t enough. Milwaukee’s position on trades, as articulated by owner Mark Attanasio is “aggressive but not stupid.”
• Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi as of midday Saturday had not yet approached Halladay to approve a deal, according to Yahoo’s! Tim Brown.
• The Detroit Tigers were in hard on Matt Holliday(notes) before he went to the Cardinals, but Oakland turned down a package that included the Tigers’ top shortstop prospect, Cale Iorg. Right-handed pitcher Freddy Dolsi(notes), currently on the DL, would have gone to the Athletics as a player to be named later.
• The Tigers have some interest in reacquiring outfielder Cody Ross(notes) from the Marlins and playing him in right field. Florida looked like they’d be in seller mode after being swept by the Phillies but have played well since and are on the lookout for bullpen help, with the Red Sox trying to interest them in Takashi Saito(notes). If the Phillies acquire Halladay, though, the Marlins may stage a selloff, with outfielder Jeremy Hermida(notes) a likely bat to move. Triple-A infielder Gaby Sanchez(notes) might also be available.
• It appears the Mariners will have to fall back even farther in the AL West before GM Jack Zduriencik is willing to move either lefty Jarrod Washburn(notes) or Erik Bedard(notes). The mandate from ownership appears pretty clear for Seattle to try to win as many games as possible this season. That could change if the M’s deficit in the AL West approaches double digits by Friday.
• Tampa Bay has been aggressive in its pursuit of Cliff Lee(notes). The Rays are trying to involve the Texas Rangers as a third team in the deal, with the Indians getting top Rays pitching prospect Wade Davis(notes) and at least one young arm from the Rangers. The Rays also almost certainly will move Andy Sonnanstine(notes), perhaps to a team looking for bullpen help. The Rays also have shown considerable interest in Toronto reliever Jason Frasor, as has Detroit.
• The Rangers, meanwhile, have shown some interest in Tampa Bay’s Scott Kazmir(notes), but apparently not if it would cost them left-hander Derek Holland(notes). The Rangers’ need for another pitcher became more acute after the news that left-hander Matt Harrison(notes) needs shoulder surgery and is out for the season. The Dodgers may also make a run at Kazmir.
• With the Mets mired in a 7-17 slump and pitcher John Maine(notes) headed to see Dr. James Andrews for another look at his shoulder, GM Omar Minaya should be trying to move left-handed reliever Pedro Feliciano(notes) and ageless Livan Hernandez(notes) and get back whatever he can. So far, he has not done so.
• With the Cubs’ only All-Star, Ted Lilly(notes), having shoulder trouble that will put him out of action indefinitely – worst-case scenario is that he has a torn biceps – expect the Cubs to be one of the teams making a push for Pirates left-hander Zach Duke(notes), who is very available. The Cubs also could have interest in shortstop Jack Wilson(notes).
• The Astros, making a surprise bid in the NL Central, have no money to spend and are unlikely to make a move at the deadline. If outfielder Darin Erstad(notes) has to miss protracted time, however, don’t be surprised if Houston asks about Mark Kotsay(notes), recently designated for assignment by the Red Sox.