Trade talk: Roundup of Wednesday's rumors

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With Cliff Lee off to the Phillies, and Matt Holliday already making himself at home in St. Louis, the trade market has lost a bit of luster.

But there is still a lot going on out there as we march closer to Friday’s trade deadline. Let’s take a look at what’s going on:

ROY HALLADAY
The self-imposed deadline for the Blue Jays to trade ace Roy Halladay has passed, but that doesn’t mean someone might still pry him away. The Yankees, for their part, are watching with amusement, hoping Halladay won’t be waiting in Toronto next Tuesday when they travel north but certainly not wishing to see him in a Red Sox uniform, either. So what will happen with Halladay?

*The Yankees, reluctant to add to their bloated payroll, say they’re not an option.

*Halladay reportedly hasn’t ruled out waiving his no-trade clause to join the Rangers, but they seem to be a long shot, given their financial woes.

*The Dodgers have said they won’t deal anyone off their major league roster, but might be willing to part with Chad Billingsley.

*The Angels don’t want to break up their team for Halladay, despite the lobbying of John Lackey.

*With the Phillies most assuredly out of the running, that leaves the Red Sox as the likeliest option. They’ve been the most aggressive, and have reportedly made the best offer to date.

*… unless the Blue Jays keep him.

ELSEWHERE

*The Giants shored up their infield with the Pirates’ Freddy Sanchez.

*The Mariners dealt five players to the Pirates for Ian Snell and Jack Wilson.

*Staying busy, they also sent outfielder Wladimir Balentien to the Reds for pitcher Robert Manuel.

*Is Jarrod Washburn the next Mariner to go?

*The Red Sox might be after the Indians’ Victor Martinez and the Padres’ Adrian Gonzalez. Consider Martinez the more likely option. He’d be a nice upgrade over Jason Varitek.

*The Marlins are pushing hard for Padres closer Heath Bell.

*There is a lot of interest out there in Orioles closer George Sherrill.

*For the latest, check out our rumors page.

President Obama pardons Willie McCovey

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 06:  San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey  waves to the crowd while seating between Jeff Kent (L) and Willie Mays during a ceremony honoring Buster Posey for winning the 2012 National League MVP before the Giants game against the St. Louis Cardinals at AT&T Park on April 6, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.

Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.

President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.

 

Jake Diekman will miss at least half of the 2017 season

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 9: Jake Diekman #41 of the Texas Rangers works against the Toronto Blue Jays in the sixth inning during game three of the American League Division Series at Rogers Centre on October 9, 2016 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
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Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.

Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.

The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.