Trade talk: Roundup of Thursday's rumors

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Thursday was a rough day for the Red Sox and their fans, for reasons we won’t get into here. It looks like they will dominate talk in the final hours leading up to the trade deadline as well.

Pick a big name sitting on the block, and Theo Epstein appears to be feverishly working behind the scenes to put that player in a Red Sox uniform. At this point, it would be a huge shock if the Red Sox <i>don’t</i> make a big move by the deadline, and maybe even more than one. They’ve just got too many irons in the fire.

The Red Sox are so busy, it seems as if Clay Buchholz will be traded to about five different teams, all at the same time. If Epstein pulls that off, he deserves some kind of award, like maybe this.

Breaking it down, in order of likelihood …

VICTOR MARTINEZ
The Red Sox have been talking to the Indians about Martinez for a long time, and with Jason Varitek plodding along toward his AARP card, why not?

Jayson Stark reported on Thursday night that a three-team deal was in the works that would send Martinez to Boston …

… Clay Buchholz to Cleveland and prospects flying in all directions …

The lack of detail in the supposed trade is because, according to Stark, the teams are still searching for a third party to make the pieces fit, including a landing spot for Boston’s recently acquired first baseman Adam LaRoche.

Stark writes that the Rays are also interested in Martinez, but that seems like a long shot.

ROY HALLADAY
Nolan Ryan says the Rangers are still in the mix for Halladay, although youngster Derek Holland, who made the Mariners look foolish on Thursday, would not be part of any deal.

That being said, it seems that the Dodgers and – of course – the Red Sox are the frontrunners.

The Dodgers have supposedly offered pitcher James McDonald and a host of minor leaguers, while Boston’s offer is believed to included Clay Buchholz (duh!) and either Justin Masterson, Michael Bowden or Lars Anderson, plus lesser prospects.

However, Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi continues to say Halladay is staying put. It’s just that no one is listening.

ADRIAN GONZALEZ
If the Padres want the moon for Heath Bell, what would they want for Gonzalez? Saturn, with a comet to be named later?

It seems implausible that San Diego would move the only player they have who is worth watching, especially when you consider they have him for a mere $4.75 million in 2010, plus a $5.5 million option in 2011.

Nonetheless, the rumors are flying that the Red Sox are trying to pry Gonzalez away from his life on the beach.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Clay Buchholz is among the names being mentioned, although it might take three or four Clay Buchholzes to land Gonzalez, and I don’t know if even Epstein can conjure up that many.

ELSEWHERE …
*Regarding Jarrod Washburn, the Yankees are interested, but the names initially thrown out there (Joba? Hughes?) are ridiculous to even think about.

*For his part, Newsday’s Ken Davidoff thinks the Yankees will stand pat.

*Brewers GM Doug Melvin sounds an awful lot like he’s throwing in the towel.

*The Marlins are making a push for Nick Johnson.

*Dodgers acquire reliever George Sherrill from Orioles.

*Cubs add some nice pitching depth, courtesy of Wal-Mart, errr, I mean the Pirates.

*The Giants appear to be finished making moves.

*The Mets are reportedly looking to buy, but don’t want to give up prospects. In related news, I’d like Omar Minaya’s job, but without ever having to apologize.

*With the news of Joel Zumaya’s season ending surgery, you might think the Tigers will pursue a reliever, but Jason Beck of MLB.com writes that a starter or hitter would be more likely, and smarter.

*The Tigers trade Josh Anderson to the Royals for some cash.

*For the latest, check out our rumors page.

Also, you can find myself, Aaron, Matthew and D.J. on Twitter.

 

Astros push ALCS to Game 7 with 7-1 stunner against Yankees

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There’s just something about playing in your home ballpark. The Astros decimated the Yankees at Minute Maid Park on Friday, riding seven scoreless innings from Justin Verlander and a pair of big runs from Jose Altuve to win 7-1 and force a Game 7 in the American League Championship Series.

Through the first four innings, however, the teams looked equally matched. Luis Severino no-hit the Astros through 3 2/3 innings, losing his bid on Carlos Correa‘s line drive single in the fourth. The Astros returned in the fifth to do some real damage, drawing two walks and plating the first run of the night with Brian McCann‘s ground-rule double off of the right field wall. Things didn’t get any easier for Severino. Jose Altuve lined a two-RBI base hit into left field, upping Houston’s advantage to three runs.

Verlander, meanwhile, muted the Yankees’ offense with seven innings of five-hit, eight-strikeout ball. While he didn’t come close to matching his complete game effort in Game 2, he was still plenty dominant against a struggling New York lineup. No player reached past first base until the sixth inning, when a pair of base hits from Chase Headley and Didi Gregorius gave the Yankees their first runner in scoring position. That didn’t last long, though, as Gary Sanchez grounded out on a 3-0 slider to end the inning.

In the seventh, Houston’s ace got into another spot of trouble. He walked Greg Bird on six pitches to start the inning, then plunked Starlin Castro on the wrist. Aaron Hicks struck out, in part thanks to a questionable call by home plate umpire Jim Reynolds, but it was Todd Frazier who presented the biggest threat after returning an 0-1 fastball for a 403-foot fly out to left field. Luckily for Verlander, George Springer was there to bail him out with a leaping catch at the wall.

The Yankees kept things exciting in the eighth, too. Aaron Judge ripped his third postseason home run off of Brad Peacock, taking a 425-footer out to the train in left field to spoil the Astros’ shutout. That was the only real break the Yankees got, however, as Altuve, Alex Bregman and Evan Gattis returned in the bottom of the inning to tack on another four runs, including Altuve’s solo shot off of David Robertson:

Ken Giles handled the ninth, expending 23 pitches and giving up a base hit and a walk before retiring Frazier and Headley to end the game. Thanks to Houston’s winning efforts, the two teams will compete in their first seven-game Championship Series since 2004 — and this time, at least one of them is guaranteed to come away with a win.

Game 7 of the ALCS is set for Saturday at 8:00 PM ET. Houston right-hander Charlie Morton (14-7, 3.62 ERA) is scheduled to face southpaw CC Sabathia (14-5, 3.69 ERA).