Red Sox acquire slugger Victor Martinez
Martinez, who is batting .287 with 15 home runs and 67 runs batted in, will play first base if third baseman Mike Lowell(notes) is unsuccessful coming back from injury. Kevin Youkilis(notes) would move to third in that scenario. If Lowell is healthy, Martinez could spell Jason Varitek(notes) at catcher and perhaps be the designated hitter against some left-handed pitchers.
The Red Sox did not include starting pitcher Clay Buchholz(notes) in the package going to the Indians, although swingman Justin Masterson(notes) and prospect Nick Hagadone – both sturdy pitchers – are reportedly in the deal. Still, this deal makes it all but impossible for Boston to make a late run at Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay(notes).
Apparently unable to patch up a starting rotation that has been the least effective in the AL Central, GM Bill Smith will try the score-more-runs alternative with Cabrera, who started slowly in Oakland but has batted .373 in July. He’ll replace Nick Punto(notes), who is batting .208.
Ladendorf, 21, is considered a good athlete with good speed who might someday grow into third base, both in terms of his body and his power potential. He’s batted .322 with four homers and 21 RBI in 32 games split this season between rookie and Class-A ball for the Twins.
Having lost three left-handed starters for one reason or another in the past year, the Detroit Tigers on Friday morning acquired lefty Jarrod Washburn(notes) from the Seattle Mariners for two left-handers – Luke French(notes) and a minor leaguer – for their stretch drive.
Washburn is 8-6 with a 2.64 ERA. He’s lost just once since mid-June, a run that includes seven innings of no-run, two-hit ball a week ago in Detroit.
The trade was the second in a few days for Jack Zduriencik, the Mariners’ first-year general manager. He acquired shortstop Jack Wilson(notes) and right-hander Ian Snell(notes) from the Pirates on Wednesday, yet the trade of Washburn would seem to signal he’s preparing for next season.
The 6-foot-4 French, 23, projects as a middle of the rotation starter and because he is a rookie will come cheap for the next several years. The Mariners also acquired left-hander Mauricio Robles, a 20-year-old Venezuelan pitching in Class-A.
The Dodgers, who on Thursday added lefty George Sherrill(notes) to their exhausted bullpen, were considering a run at San Diego Padres closer Heath Bell(notes) by late Friday morning. The Dodgers hadn’t talked to the Blue Jays about Halladay since Thursday afternoon.
The Texas Rangers are a bad fit for Halladay, even though they have engaged the Toronto Blue Jays in talks the last 24 hours. With MLB loaning Rangers owner Tom Hicks money and the commissioner’s office overseeing Rangers finances, the Blue Jays would have to assume a large part of the $15.75 million Halladay is due next year.
The Red Sox are simultaneously pushing for Halladay and Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez(notes), although only one is doable because some of the same pieces would go the other direction (i.e. Clay Buchholz(notes)).
The Florida Marlins and Washington Nationals appear to be making progress on a deal that would send first baseman Nick Johnson(notes) to the Marlins for a left-handed pitching prospect. Sources on both sides confirm talks are ongoing
The Atlanta Braves do not look like they’ll be match Toronto for reliever Jason Frasor(notes), and it appears they may not make a move before the deadline. With Washburn gone, it’s hard to see the Milwaukee Brewers getting a starting pitcher at this stage.