This could mean big things for the Red Sox.
First, it suggests that the Phillies are out of the running for the Doctor — assuming that Lee isn’t going elsewhere in a brewing three-way deal. That could mean — it probably doesn’t, but it could mean — that the Red Sox are now the leading contender to land Halladay from Toronto, if Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi is still inclined to move him.
Consider that “erroneous” news on Tuesday that the Sox did not, in fact, offer up Clay Buchholz, Lars Anderson/Justin Masterson, and Michael Bowden in exchange for the ace. Those rumors don’t brew out of nowhere. Nobody would be surprised to hear that Theo Epstein and friends have been working feverishly at the drawing boards to find a combination that unlocks Halladay from Toronto’s grip.
Nobody would be surprised to hear the Sox have given up, either.
Disregarding Halladay, the Cliff Lee news is more endearing to the Red Sox. Rival executives told ESPN.com’s Buster Olney that they fully expect Martinez
to be the next Indian to hit the trading block, now that Lee, Mark
DeRosa, and Rafael Betancourt have all been moved.
“I don’t think they’d move one without moving the other,” an executive said of Lee and Martinez.
Rumors have been swirling for a while about the Sox trying to acquire both Lee and Martinez, especially because Martinez could be the long-term, power-hitting catcher Boston is looking for.
The 30-year-old is set to earn $4.5 million this year and has a club option for $7 million in 2010 — and the Sox would certainly be getting their money’s wroth out of him. He’s a switch-hitter, just like Jason Varitek, but unlike Varitek, he’s hitting .283 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs this year. Throughout his seven-year career (not counting 2002, when he played in just 12 games), he has never hit lower than .278 and he has hit over .300 three times.
Yes, Cliff Lee could have looked great in a Red Sox uniform next to Josh Beckett and Jon Lester. But Victor Martinez — or Roy Halladay — would look really good, too.
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