MLB trade deadline buzz: Wednesday’s edition

With the July 31 MLB non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, baseball reporters Ken Rosenthal and Jon Paul Morosi have all the latest buzz. All times below are ET.

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Pressure on Dodgers — 12:33 a.m. (Thursday)

The Phillies’ trade for left-hander Cliff Lee only added to the pressure on the Dodgers to bolster their pitching staff.

Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay remains a possibility, but only if the Dodgers are willing to part with the necessary prospects.

The Blue Jays would not require the Dodgers to include right-hander Chad Billingsley or lefty Clayton Kershaw in a deal for Halladay, according to major-league sources.

But Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has said publicly that the Jays want five or six of his team’s best young players.

The Jays, in need of a shortstop, surely would have interest in Ivan DeJesus Jr., who has been out the entire season with a broken right leg, or Devaris Gordon, a younger shortstop who is the son of reliever Tom Gordon.

Among the other Dodgers prospects who could interest the Jays: Outfielder Andrew Lambo, right-hander Josh Lindblom, third baseman Josh Bell and right-hander Chris Withrow.

Padres looking to shop Correia — 11:51 p.m.

The Padres are not just talking to teams about first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell.

They also are actively shopping right-hander Kevin Correia, and the Brewers are among the teams interested.

No deal is close, according to major-league sources, but Correia, 7-8 with a 4.75 ERA, would come relatively cheaply.

He is owed only about $250,000 more this season.

Marlins going after Padres closer Bell — 11:21 p.m.

At trading time, the Marlins often are full of surprises.

They sent infielder Miguel Cabrera and left-hander Dontrelle Willis to the Tigers at the 2007 winter meetings.

They tried to acquire Manny Ramirez at the non-waiver deadline a year ago.

And now, they’re after the Padres’ All-Star closer, right-hander Heath Bell.

The Marlins are one of 10 to 15 teams pursuing Bell, according to major-league sources, and they’re deep enough in prospects to pull off such a deal.

However, the Padres want one of the Marlins’ young starting pitchers, either left-hander Andrew Miller or Sean West, as the centerpiece of a multi-player package.

To the Marlins, who traded first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to the Rangers for closer Ugueth Urbina in July 2003, that is too high a price.

A closer was a glaring need for the ’03 Marlins, who went on to win the World Series after adding Urbina. But this year’s Marlins, who are only two games out in the National League wild-card race, also could improve by adding a starting pitcher or hitter.

Try finding one, though, who is as affordable as Bell.

The Marlins, who opened the season with a $36.8 million payroll, could easily absorb the remainder of Bell’s $1.255 million salary, which amounts to about $400,000.

Bell, who turns 32 on Sept. 29, will be under club control for two more seasons.

The Marlins have been using Leo Nunez as their closer with Matt Lindstrom recovering from a right elbow strain.

Lindstrom could return as soon as this weekend. He could return to a setup role if the Padres added Bell.

Orioles receiving interest in Guthrie — 10:55 p.m.

One major league source said the Orioles have received several inquiries on right-hander Jeremy Guthrie but cautioned that the team remains “unlikely” to move him.

Guthrie is 7-9 with a 5.21 ERA this year — a regression after two seasons with a sub-4.00 ERA.

Rangers aren’t giving up hope on Halladay — 10:41 p.m.

The Texas Rangers have a definite need for pitching and one of the best farm systems in the game.

What’s more, Roy Halladay hasn’t ruled out waiving his no-trade clause to come to Texas, according to senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal.

So, why aren’t we hearing more about them in the market for frontline starters?

Well, the answer is pretty straightforward: Rangers owner Tom Hicks is having some financial difficulties, and it’s doubtful that the team will be able to add much to its payroll this year.

The Rangers are optimistic that next year’s payroll will be more flexible — when Halladay would be in the final year of his deal at $15.75 million.

As of Wednesday, the folks in Arlington hadn’t given up hope about adding an impact starter. They’re still talking internally about their chances of landing Halladay or Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn.

The Rangers’ chances of getting Halladay increased Wednesday — a little bit, at least — when Cliff Lee went to the Phillies. That eliminated a team that many saw as the favorite to land Halladay. And it took one big name off the list of non-AL East suitors.

But let’s face it: The Rangers’ chances aren’t great. Toronto general manager J.P. Ricciardi isn’t likely to pay Halladay to pitch elsewhere, and Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik may not want to deal Washburn within the division, if he deals the left-hander at all.

Then again, we’re only talking about two months of a player’s salary — about $4.75 million, in Halladay’s case. One wonders if there might be some way, whether through a contract or cash, to help the Rangers make it work if the Jays deem their prospects enticing enough.

Bucs get top prospect back in Wilson-Sanchez trade — Updated 10:36 p.m.

Just like a lot of people expected several weeks ago, the Pirates traded their double-play combination before July 31.

Of course, we didn’t necessarily know that the Pirates were going to deal shortstop Jack Wilson and second baseman Freddy Sanchez on the very same day.

But that’s how it happened Wednesday — first Wilson to the Mariners and later Sanchez to the Giants.

The latter of the two trades, which became official at 7:40 p.m. Eastern, brought back right-hander Tim Alderson, one of the best-known pitching prospects in baseball.

Alderson, 20, has had success since his in-season promotion to Class AA, going 6-1 with a 3.47 ERA in 13 starts. Alderson was San Francisco’s first-round pick in 2007, the same year Pittsburgh infamously selected Daniel Moskos rather than star catcher Matt Wieters.

One general manager, though, isn’t impressed with Alderson, calling him “overrated” and saying, “They had a long list of untouchables, and he wasn’t on it.”

In their news release announcing the move, the Pirates happily reported that they now have four of the top 75 prospects in baseball, as ranked by Baseball America entering the season: Pedro Alvarez (12), Alderson (45), Gorkys Hernandez (62) and Jose Tabata (75).

Yankees awfully quiet as deadline approaching — 8:58 p.m.

Could things really be this quiet around the New York Yankees at the trade deadline?

One major-league source said there is “nothing going on” with the Yankees at the moment.

Talks with the Mariners about left-hander Jarrod Washburn haven’t heated up yet, largely due to the fact that it’s not clear what Seattle’s asking price is.

Indians looking for parties interested in Martinez — 8:45 p.m.

The Red Sox are pursuing Indians catcher Victor Martinez.

But is any other club?

Cleveland would love to see six or seven teams come forward and proclaim their sincere interest in the switch-hitting slugger. But there’s considerable doubt as to whether that will happen before Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline.

The Giants seemed to be a fit, but they (apparently) satisfied their need for offense by dealing for Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez. The Rays preferred Cliff Lee to Martinez if they were going to complete a blockbuster with Cleveland.

And for those still in doubt about how “available” Martinez might be, consider this quote from the news release that formally announced Lee’s trade to the Phillies:

“At the root of this deal was balancing the conviction of our ability to compete in 2010 with the opportunity to impact the team’s construction for years to come,” general manager Mark Shapiro said in the statement. “Without the sense of confidence in the team’s ultimate competitiveness, we acted aggressively to add players that will impact the organization in 2010 and beyond.”

With that, Shapiro also articulated the rationale to trade Martinez — at least from a baseball standpoint.

Martinez is making $5.7 million this season, and the Indians could bring him back for $7 million next year. After that, he will be eligible for free agency. In that regard, he is on the same contractual timetable as Lee.

So now that Lee is gone — with Shapiro acknowledging some uncertainty about the current club’s “ultimate competitiveness” — many people in the industry expect the Indians to move Martinez, too.

In other words, if the current mix isn’t working, why stay with it?

“I think the Tribe will deal Victor for sure now,” one American League official said.

And if they don’t, where will Martinez play in the long term? Martinez has never been highly regarded as a defensive catcher, and the Indians have prospects Lou Marson (acquired for Lee) and Carlos Santana (acquired last year for Casey Blake) in addition to big leaguer Kelly Shoppach. Now that Garko has been dealt, it appears that Martinez’s future in Cleveland — if he has one — will be at first base.

The Indians’ return for Lee — Marson, infielder Jason Donald and right-handers Jason Knapp and Carlos Carrasco — didn’t include a consensus star pitching prospect on the order of Boston’s Clay Buchholz.

If Shapiro trades Martinez, he might be able to get a pitcher like Buchholz — if not Buchholz himself.

ChiSox interested in Orioles’ Sherrill — 7:38 p.m.

The White Sox have some degree of interest in Orioles lefty George Sherrill, major league sources indicated Wednesday, but it’s unclear if the sides have had any serious talks.

Baltimore prefers to get a third baseman in return for Sherrill, and Chicago may have enough infield depth that general manager Kenny Williams could include Josh Fields in the deal. Fields, once a highly-regarded prospect, came up through the minors as a third baseman but was replaced there by Gordon Beckham last month. Fields, batting .220, has since become a part-time player.

Rays not done pursuing Halladay — Updated 7:32 p.m.

The Rays have not pulled out of the Roy Halladay sweepstakes.

A trade for Halladay remains a longshot for the Rays due to the acquisition cost, both in prospects and dollars, according to a major-league source.

But the team still considers itself in the mix.

Club officials also are focusing on adding bullpen help — and yes, just 24 hours ago they were kicking around the idea of selling relievers.

The Rays’ shifting position reflects their uncertainty about their postseason chances playing in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox.

Giants complete deal for Sanchez — Updated 7:10 p.m.

The San Francisco Giants acquired infielder Freddy Sanchez from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, and made it a convenient switch for the three-time All-Star.

The teams announced the trade right after the Giants beat Pittsburgh 1-0 in 10 innings. Sanchez merely had to change clubhouses to join his new team, which is in the thick of the NL wild-card race. — AP Full story…

Jays step up Overbay efforts — 5:11 p.m.

The Blue Jays might not trade Roy Halladay this week, but they have stepped up their efforts to move first baseman Lyle Overbay, major-league sources said.

The Giants had been looking for a corner infielder such as Overbay, but it’s not clear if they would still have interest after acquiring Ryan Garko from Cleveland.

Overbay is earning $7 million this year and next. His contract includes some no-trade protection.

Overbay isn’t in the lineup today at Seattle. But that’s not an indication that a deal is in place. The Jays are facing Ryan Rowland-Smith, and Kevin Millar generally starts against left-handed pitching.

Scouts give take on Indians’ deal — 4:27 p.m.

So, how did the Indians do in their four-player haul for left-hander Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco?

One rival executive says the team went for “quantity over quality,” but a scout who is familiar with the Phillies’ system disagrees.

“Jason Knapp is 18, and throws 98 mph,” the scout says. “Carlos Carrasco is up to 97. Jason Donald had a great year last year before he hurt his knee — he could be another Rich Aurilia. And Lou Marson is a 22-year-old catcher at AAA.”

Another scout is not as convinced, saying Donald might only be a super-utility man and Marson a backup.

The scout also points out that Carrasco has yet to fulfill his promise, but says that Knapp might be the player the Phillies regret losing most, projecting him as a future closer in the Lee Smith mold.

The first scout chuckles at that assessment, saying, “I don’t see why you would take a kid who throws 98 in the seventh inning and put him in the bullpen.”

In any case, the Indians now have two highly regarded prospects at catcher, Marson and Carlos Santana. Donald increases their options in the middle infield. Carrasco should fit into their rotation next season and Knapp is a potential star.

The deal, however, significantly compromises the Indians’ chances of contending in 2010, which is one reason they might trade catcher Victor Martinez, too.

Several teams pursuing Sherrill — 3:26 p.m.

As many as eight teams are pursuing Orioles closer George Sherrill, and two or three are “actively engaged” with Baltimore in discussions, according to a major-league source.

The Orioles expect that the number of teams serious about Sherrill actually might grow once the big-name starting pitchers get traded — or not.

The Dodgers have maintained interest in Sherrill, and a number of their prospects appeal to the Orioles. The Angels are “mildly” involved, according to one major-league source.

The Phillies are unlikely to act on Sherrill now that they are preparing to trade four prospects for Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.

Reds get Balentien from Mariners — 3:11 p.m.

The Reds have acquired outfielder Wladimir Balentien from the Mariners for right-hander Robert Manuel in a minor deal.

Balentien was on Seattle’s big-league roster until Saturday, when his contract was designated for assignment in order to make room for rookie outfielder Michael Saunders. Full story…

Gonzalez moving? Don’t count on it — 2:55 p.m.

In late May, Padres CEO Jeff Moorad told, “I’ve said publicly that no player is untouchable, but I would be hard-pressed to imagine a deal that could ever make sense for Adrian Gonzalez.”

Adrian Gonzalez: ’09 stats

Adrian Gonzalez

Adrian Gonzalez

San Diego Padres

First baseman


That still appears to be the case.

While the Padres are listening to proposals for Gonzalez and closer Heath Bell, the chances of them trading Gonzalez, in particular, appear minute.

The Red Sox continue to explore a trade for Gonzalez, but one source familiar with the discussions characterized the chance of a deal as “very small … slim to none.”

The Sox also are pursuing Indians catcher Victor Martinez, but appear to face long odds in that quest as well.

Now what for Halladay? — Updated 2:15 p.m.

Now that Cliff Lee is all-but-officially headed to Philadelphia, according to senior baseball writer Ken Rosenthal, where do things stand with Roy Halladay?

Well, for one thing, he’s probably going to pitch today against the Seattle Mariners. One Blue Jays official said he doesn’t anticipate that Halladay will be scratched from that start.

That suggests that general manager J.P. Ricciardi doesn’t have an imminent deal — which may not change anytime soon.

One executive who has spoken with Ricciardi recently echoed something the Toronto GM has said himself:

“Someone will have to bowl him over.”

As for what might transpire between now and Friday at 4 p.m., a different official with an interested club offered the following take:

“I don’t see anyone going over the top at the end. If J.P. decides at the deadline to take something that’s on the table, then it could happen. But that’s all I see.”

The implication there is a weighty one: Teams believed to have made firm proposals — the Red Sox and Rangers, for example — might not sweeten the pot over the next 48 hours.

Source: Halladay would consider Rangers — 2:09 p.m.

Roy Halladay wants to play for a perennial contender. So, would he approve a trade to the Rangers, who last made the postseason in 1999?


Halladay has not ruled out waiving his no-trade clause for the Rangers, according to a source with knowledge of his thinking.

However, he is not as certain to approve a deal to Texas as he is to the Yankees, Red Sox or either of the Los Angeles teams.

The Rangers are 2½ games behind the Angels in the AL West and 1½ games behind the Red Sox for the wild card.

They have the prospects to land Halladay, but many in baseball doubt their ability to take on his remaining salary in 2009 and ’10.

Sources: Phils reach agreement for Lee — Updated 1:47 p.m.

The Phillies are not getting Roy Halladay. But the pitcher they are getting just happens to be the reigning American League Cy Young award winner.

The Phillies have reached agreement on a trade that would bring them left-hander Cliff Lee and outfielder Ben Francisco from the Indians for Class A right-hander Jason Knapp, Class AAA right-hander Carlos Carrasco, shortstop Jason Donald and catcher Lou Marson, according to major-league sources.

The deal, which does not include any cash, is pending a review of medical records. If completed, it will be a coup for both the Phillies and Indians. Full story…

Giants still scouting Nationals — 1:13 p.m.

While the Giants have acquired Ryan Garko and are engaged in talks with the Pirates about Freddy Sanchez, they haven’t entirely closed off other options. One major-league source said the Giants have a scout in Milwaukee this week to watch the Brewers and Nationals.

The Giants have had interest in the Nationals’ available bats for some time; corner outfielder Josh Willingham would probably be a better fit than Nick Johnson now, following the acquisition of Garko.

San Francisco has had well-below-average offensive production from left field, where Fred Lewis has made the majority of starts.

Pirates send Wilson, Snell to M’s — 12:43 p.m.

The Pirates just announced that they have acquired first baseman Jeff Clement, shortstop Ronny Cedeno and right-handed pitchers Aaron Pribanic, Brett Lorin and Nathan Adcock from the Mariners for shortstop Jack Wilson and right-handed pitcher Ian Snell. Full story…

More interest in D-backs pitchers — Updated 10:07 a.m.

While one rival general manager said early Wednesday that the Diamondbacks were not trading left-hander Doug Davis or right-hander Jon Garland, the D-backs’ position actually remains unchanged.

They will move one or both veterans only for what they deem fair value.

The trade interest in Davis and Garland, minimal thus far, has grown “slightly,” according to major-league source.

Indians GM: Payroll won’t force deal — Updated 10:02 a.m.

Indians general manager Mark Shapiro stated firmly on Wednesday that he does not need to trade left-hander Cliff Lee and catcher Victor Martinez for financial reasons.

“We have zero imperative from ownership to move money,” Shapiro said. “That’s not a component in our decision-making at all.”

The Indians’ declining revenues, however, are forcing Shapiro to proceed with the understanding that he cannot supplement his major-league roster this off-season.

So, in trade discussions for Lee and Martinez, he is weighing the impact of the possible returns on next season’s club vs. the impact of keeping either or both players.

The Indians hold a $9 million option on Lee for 2010 and a $7 million option on Martinez.

Slumping Brewers not pursuing Washburn — Updated 9:41 a.m.

The Brewers, thought to be one of the favorites for Jarrod Washburn, are not seriously engaged in discussions for the Mariners’ veteran left-hander.

The reasons: The Brewers do not want to give up good prospects for two months of Washburn at a time when they have lost 16 of their last 23 games.

Washburn, a likely Type B free agent, would bring only one draft pick in return if the Brewers (or any other club he was with) failed to re-sign him.

The Mariners, according to one general manager who has spoken with them, are seeking to make a bigger deal with Washburn.

That might be the reason they pulled catcher/designated hitter Jeff Clement from his Class AAA game and informed him that he was about to be traded.

Scouts in Seattle to watch Washburn — Updated 12:13 a.m.

The Yankees, Phillies, Brewers and Rangers all have scouts in Seattle to watch Mariners left-hander Jarrod Washburn face the Blue Jays Tuesday night.

The Twins also are represented, but for a different reason. Their interest is in Jays shortstop Marco Scutaro.

The Dodgers are also looking for a starting pitcher but don’t have serious interest in Washburn, one major league source said Tuesday.

More buzz: Last week | Monday | Tuesday | Wednesday | Thursday | Friday