We normally try to avoid universally-owned players here in Closing Time. But on trade deadline eve, that's just not reasonable.
Manny Ramirez might soon be a Marlin according to Baseball Prospectus' Will Carroll. The deal would involve Jason Bay heading to Boston and Jeremy Hermida going to Pittsburgh. The Marlins would also get cash, per their usual. Unnamed prospects would go to both Florida and Pittsburgh. Those pieces are apparently still being negotiated.
BP reported earlier in the night that Marlins' minor leaguer Michael Stanton, an 18-year-old outfielder with a .920 OPS and 26 home runs at Single-A, could be involved in the Ramirez deal. Peter Gammons threw out Stanton's name in Manny rumors tonight, too. And the Palm Beach Post reported the basic three-way structure of a Bay-Manny-Marlins trade earlier in the day. And the Miami Herald agrees.
There's clearly something to this.
According to Will, the Commissioner's Office has been informed of the deal, so things are apparently in a pretty advanced stage. The Commissioner would need to sign off on the trade due to the millions moving to Florida, and Manny would presumably need to formally accept the move. Multiple signatures are required.
We would usually tell you that a move from Boston to Florida is bad for a slugger -- it's a less productive lineup, and a less friendly hitting environment -- but we can't rule out the possibility that Manny's semi-slowdown/work-stoppage would continue if he remains with the Red Sox. Any move out of Boston, regardless of the destination, might improve his outlook. Bay's fantasy value would get a significant bump with a move to the Red Sox (obviously), and Hermida wouldn't suffer from a move to Pittsburgh.
Or maybe this thing will just end the way all other Manny trade rumors have, with lots of noise and no actual trade. It's fun either way.
So...are there any AL-only owners buying low on Manny tonight? That would be bold. Or ignorant.
Sometimes it's really a fine line.
Let's move to news of the injured and under-owned...
• Fernando Rodney blew a one-run lead in the ninth in Cleveland, giving up two hits and two walks in the process. That's three straight games in which he's allowed a run. Again, we urge you to take the Kyle Farnsworth threat seriously.
The Tigers eventually won in 13 innings. Five hitters had at least four hits in the game, and Ben Francisco and Kelly Shoppach each homered twice for Cleveland. Like Rodney, Masa Kobayashi was also shaky (1.1 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 1 K).
• The first save of the latest Isringhausen era in St. Louis went to...Ron Villone. The Cardinals scored two in the ninth, which gave them a 7-2 lead. You're not adding Villone. Hopefully you didn't have to add Izzy, but not everyone had that luxury.
Chris Carpenter went four innings, striking out two and allowing five hits. His fastball reached 93 mph and he threw 67 pitches, though only 36 were strikes. Not bad for his first major league start in approximately 16 months. Tonight is your last opportunity to pick him up and stash him on your DL. We should note that the Braves lineup ain't too pretty without Teixeira and Chipper.
• Tampa leadoff man Akinori Iwamura went 2-for-4 on Wednesday. He's batting .274, and he's on pace for nearly 90 runs.
"When I say 'not close,' it's not imminently close," Piniella said.
• Pianowski would want you to know that Nats' leadoff hitter Willie Harris went 3-for-5 with a homer and two doubles.
• Pretty much everyone had at least two hits for the Reds against Houston tonight. Adam Dunn's hits traveled farther than anyone else's. There's a decent chance that we'll be writing a trade spin on him tomorrow.
• CJ Wilson had blown his previous two save opportunities, but he got the call on Wednesday, and he closed the door on the Mariners. It wasn't too difficult, since Kenji Johjima, Willie Bloomquist and Jose Vidro were providing resistance on the other side of the door.
Hernandez dropped to 8-2 at the Metrodome this year after giving up nine hits, five runs and two walks. His 199 hits allowed are by far the most in the majors. He finished just four innings, throwing only 47 of his 80 pitches for strikes, and was replaced by Boof Bonser for the fifth.
Hernandez now has a 5.48 ERA and only 54 Ks in 139.2 innings. We've already discussed Francisco Liriano's Triple-A performance, so there's no point going there again.
• It's not like you can go add him, but Chad Billingsley was great again. He shutout the Giants, allowed only five hits, walked no one, and struck out eight. Remember when he was mass-dropped back in April, 142 strikeouts ago?
Yeah, those were good times.