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.

 

Mitt Romney’s sons are trying to buy a stake in the Yankees

TAMPA, FL - AUGUST 30:  Tagg Romney son of Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gives an interview during the final day of the Republican National Convention at the Tampa Bay Times Forum on August 30, 2012 in Tampa, Florida. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was nominated as the Republican presidential candidate during the RNC which will conclude today.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
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Mitt Romney built his professional life in Massachusetts and was once the governor of the state. As such, it is not surprising that he has long identified as a Red Sox fan. So this has to be troubling to him from a fan’s perspective. From Jon Heyman:

The Romney family is bidding to buy a small stake in the Yankees months after their try for the Marlins stalled. If the deal goes through, it is expected to be $25 million to $30 million per percentage point and thought to be interested in one or two percentage points. The Yankees are valued around $3 billion or more.

The effort is being led by Mitt’s son Tagg, one of his brothers and their business partners. Mitt’s spokesman tells Jon Heyman that he has nothing to do with it personally. Tagg Romney is reported to have been planning a bid for controlling interest in the Marlins, but that has fallen through.

I find this interesting insofar as the M.O. for the Steinbrenners has, for years, been to buy out minority shareholders in the Yankees, not seek more. Indeed, when George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees back in 1973 he held just a bare controlling interest and there were a ton of silent partners, most of which were back in Ohio and knew Steinbrenner from his shipping business. I’ve personally gotten to know some of them over the years as there are a handful of them in Columbus and I crossed paths with them in my legal career. They have almost all been bought out in the past couple of decades. They still get season tickets and World Series rings and stuff. You can tell them by their personalized Yankees plates and the fact that, within the first ten minutes of meeting them, they will tell you that they once owned a piece of the Yankees but got pushed out.

In light of all of that it’s interesting that the Steinbrenners are once again accepting bids for small stakes in the team. Especially from someone whose interest in controlling the Marlins suggests that they do not consider it to be a mere vanity investment. Makes me wonder what the Steinbrenners’ long term plans are.

Max Scherzer still can’t throw fastballs

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: Max Scherzer #31 of the Washington Nationals works against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the fifth inning during game five of the National League Division Series at Nationals Park on October 13, 2016 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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The Nationals will be many people’s favorites in the NL East this season. Not everything is looking great, however. For example, their ace — defending NL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer — can’t even throw fastballs right now.

The reason: the stress fracture he suffered last August is still causing him problems and Scherzer is unable to use his fastball grip without feeling pain in his right ring finger. He will throw a bullpen session tomorrow, but will only use his secondary stuff.

Scherzer has not been ruled out for Opening Day — the fact that he is throwing some means that his timetable isn’t totally on hold — but you have to figure, at some point, not being able to air things out and use his heater will lead to some problems in his spring training routine.