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Rumor Mill: Dodgers working on blockbuster for Gonzalez

07.31.09 at 3:40 pm ET
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Ken Rosenthal has the Dodgers offering James Loney and a package of prospects to the Padres for Adrian Gonzalez. Stay tuned for updates.

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The Cost Of Shopping at the V-Mart

07.31.09 at 3:33 pm ET
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According to multiple reports (not yet confirmed by WEEI.com), the Red Sox parted with Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone in exchange for Victor Martinez. Masterson, of course, is well known after spending more than a year in the big leagues. Hagadone, meanwhile, is considered a high-ceiling left-hander with a great pitcher’s frame. 

Earlier this week, before the deal, Red Sox farm director Mike Hazen spoke about Hagadone’s progress in his return from Tommy John surgery. Hagadone is 0-2 with a 2.52 ERA and 11.5 strikeouts per nine innings. His fastball has topped out at anywhere from 95-98 mph, and the 23-year-old’€™s slider remained a wipeout pitch. He complements that with a promising change.

Though he has been limited to roughly three innings and 50 pitches in his stints, he has overpowered the competition in the South Atlantic League (where he pitched 10 innings without allowing an earned run in 2008 before blowing out).

As is typical for pitchers coming back from Tommy John surgery, his control (14 walks in 25 innings) was up-and-down. Even so, in both performance and more important physical markers, his rehab is progressing well.

‘€œHe’€™s been bouncing back great in between starts, which is a very positive developmental step. He wasn’€™t bouncing back as quickly in April,’€ said Hazen. ‘€œHe’€™s in a good spot. There’€™s a comfort level (in Greenville) because he can overmatch guys with stuff.’€

Masterson is 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA and 67 strikeouts in 72 innings. The 24-year-old was taken in the second round of the 2006 draft by the Sox. 

LaRoche headed to Atlanta

07.31.09 at 3:21 pm ET
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According to Yahoo’s Gorden Edes, Adam LaRoche has been shipped to Atlanta.  NESN reported that the Red Sox have acquired 1B Casey Kotchman in exchange for LaRoche.

Kotchman was hitting .282 with 6 home runs and 41 RBI for the Braves.

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REPORT: Martinez to Sox is “done deal”

07.31.09 at 3:10 pm ET
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Bob Nightengale says the deal for Victor Martinez involving Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone plus a third prospect is complete. Tom Verducci said on the MLB Network that the third prospect is pitcher Bryan Price.

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Rumor Mill: Braves interested in LaRoche

07.31.09 at 3:08 pm ET
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According to SI’s Jon Heyman, the Atlanta Braves are interested in former employee Adam LaRoche if the Red Sox land Victor Martinez. The newly acquired first baseman would likely be the odd man out if the blockbuster deal goes through

LaRoche played three seasons for the Braves before playing for Pittsburgh.

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Mayo softens stance

07.31.09 at 2:46 pm ET
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Jonathan Mayo says the Indians and Red Sox are still adding names in a deal that will net the Sox C/1B Victor Martinez for pitchers Justin Masterson and Nick Hagadone. ESPN is reporting a third prospect has yet to be named. More to come.

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UPDATED: Red Sox Land Victor Martinez For Masterson And Two Prospects

07.31.09 at 2:34 pm ET
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The Red Sox have acquired All-Star catcher Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians for Justin Masterson, Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. The deal was first reported by Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

Martinez was in St. Louis for his third All-Star Game on the strength of a bounce-back season in 2009. He averaged 21 homers from 2004-07, hitting .302 with a .376 OBP and .860 OPS to establish himself as one of the top offensive catchers in the majors.

In 2008, however, his performance plummeted. He went deep just two times, hitting .278 with a .337 OBP and .701 OPS while dealing with ‘€œloose bodies’€ in his right elbow that ultimately required arthroscopic surgery in the middle of last year.

This spring, Martinez arrived to spring training with the Indians healthy. His power has returned, as he is hitting .284 with 15 homers, a .368 OBP and .832 OPS.

‘€œWhen I got to spring training, I knew I was healthy. That was a big difference between this year and last year,’€ said Martinez. ‘€œAll the trouble that I went through last year, it’€™s a big difference when you’€™re playing healthy’€¦It was the first time for me in my career, having a lot of pain and stuff in my body. I went and got my elbow surgery, and then finally this year, I came back healthy.’€

While that earned Martinez his third All-Star spot, it did not help the Indians in the standings. They dealt 2008 Cy Young winner Cliff Lee last week, and now, reportedly, have made a move to deal Martinez today.

Earlier this month, a baseball source said that the Sox were balking at the prospect demands for Martinez, which were described as being of the ‘€œback up the truck’€ variety. But with the offense sputtering, the Sox seemed to increase their aggressiveness on the market to the point of this reported deal.

The switch-hitter will presumably be worked into the mix both behind the plate and at first base. Martinez has handled right-handers (.301/.372/.471) better than he has left-handers (.243/.353/.456) this year, suggesting that he has a skill set that is complementary with those of both Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek, both of whom are excellent against left-handers.

Martinez is currently playing in the fifth season of a five-year, $15.5 million contract that has a team option for 2010 at a very reasonable pricetag of $7 million. He suggests that he is able to ignore the rumor mill and to focus on what he does on the field.

‘€œYou’€™ve got enough to worry about playing baseball’€¦I think I do a pretty good job on that, keeping away from that distraction. I don’€™t really pay attention to that. We’€™ll see. Whatever happens, happens. The only thing I need to make sure of is show up to the field and play hard every day,’€ said Martinez. ‘€œI would like to stay and hopefully retire as an Indian.’€

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UPDATE: Masterson, Hagadone to Cleveland in Victor Martinez deal

07.31.09 at 1:59 pm ET
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According to Bob Nightengale, the Red Sox are set to get Victor Martinez from Cleveland. Ed Price has a source saying a deal “looks good.” Fox says the deal is only between the Red Sox and Indians and that neither Clay Buchholz nor Daniel Bard are included. MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo is reporting that the Sox are giving up Justin Masterson and 2007 first-round pick Nick Hagadone. More to come.

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Rumor Mill: SD’s asking price “three times” that of Blue Jays

07.31.09 at 1:35 pm ET
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A baseball executive has told Jayson Stark that the Padres’ asking price for Adrian Gonzalez is “three times the asking price on Halladay.” Jon Heyman says the Red Sox and Padres are discussing Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie, but that San Diego is also asking for Lars Anderson and Ryan Westmoreland.

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Jon Heyman: Sox active in “every big name”

07.31.09 at 1:25 pm ET
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SI’s Jon Heyman, appearing on the MLB Network, said that the Red Sox were one of the teams that called about Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. He also noted that the Sox remain interested in Adrian Gonzalez, saying Boston “has its hand in every big name out there.”

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