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 …

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.

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.

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.

*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 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.


Angels sign outfielder Rafael Ortega to one-year contract

Rafael Ortega
AP Photo/John Bazemore
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According to the official Twitter account of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the club has agreed to terms on a one-year major league contract with outfielder Rafael Ortega.

It’s worth the MLB minimum, which should be a little north of $507,000 in 2016.

Ortega was once considered a top prospect in the Rockies’ minor league system, but he has made only six total plate appearances at the big league level since signing out of Venezuela in 2008. The 24-year-old batted .286/.367/.378 with two home runs and 17 stolen bases in 131 games this past season for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate in Memphis.

He’ll be in the running for an Opening Day roster spot next spring in Angels camp.

Report: Ben Zobrist’s price tag is currently four years, $60 million

Ben Zobrist
AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

Ben Zobrist will turn 35 years old early next summer, but that doesn’t seem to be putting too much of a dent in his free agent value.

According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the “sense among interested teams” is that Zobrist’s price is currently hovering around four years, $60 million and it “may go higher.”

There was a report from FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal on Sunday stating that the Mets have made Zobrist their “No. 1” offseason target, and over a dozen other clubs have linked to him since the World Series ended. That’s the kind of attention you command when you can both hit — Zobrist posted an .809 OPS (120 OPS+) in 2015 — and also cover a range of positions defensively.

He makes sense for just about any club looking to contend in the coming seasons.

Wilin Rosario elects to become free agent

Wilin Rosario
AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi
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Wilin Rosario was designated for assignment by the Rockies late last month. Now, according to Thomas Harding of, the 26-year-old former National League Rookie of the Year vote-getter has elected to become a free agent.

Rosario is a bad defensive catcher and wasn’t much better when the Rockies tried him at first base, but he should draw some interest from American League teams looking for a bench bat and part-time DH.

Rosario slugged 28 home runs for the Rockies in 2012 and he’s averaged 26 home runs for every 162 games over the course of his five-year major league career.

He boasts a .319/.356/.604 career batting line against left-handed pitching.

Orioles acquire Mark Trumbo from Mariners for Steve Clevenger

Mark Trumbo
AP Photo/Joe Nicholson

As first reported by Bob Dutton of the Tacoma Tribune and now confirmed by CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, the Mariners have traded first baseman and corner outfielder Mark Trumbo to the Orioles in exchange for catcher and first baseman Steve Clevenger. There is also a second player headed to Baltimore in the deal.

This feels like an admission from the O’s that they’re not going to be able to re-sign Chris Davis, who is said to be looking for more than $150 million in free agency.

Clevenger was out of options and the Orioles have both Matt Wieters and Caleb Joseph coming back at the catcher position. Wieters was due to become a free agent but accepted a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer from Baltimore last month.

Trumbo has always been a low-OBP guy and he rates as a poor defender everywhere he has played, but the 29-year-old has averaged 31 homers and 96 RBI for every 162 games in his six-year major league career. Camden Yards is a much better place than Safeco Field for him to show that power.