MLB Trade Rumos: Halladay, Sanchez and Betancourt

ESPN.com’s Buster Olney is reporting that no team has made an aggressive offer for Blue Jays’ ace Roy Halladay yet, but adds that the Dodgers have now entered the “Doc” sweepstakes. Olney still thinks the Phillies have the best chance of landing Halladay, although will their pursuit of Pedro Martinez change that notion?

– Freddy Sanchez is quickly becoming the most talked about player on the trade market (not named Roy Halladay, of course). According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Giants would be willing to part with left-hander Jonathan Sanchez in a trade package for Freddy, although the Mariners and Rockies are also heavily pursuing the second baseman. Apparently the Bucs covet Colorado minor league prospect Eric Young Jr.

– The Seattle Times speculates that the M’s might be close to dealing Yuniesky Betancourt, who is currently on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Tacoma. To whom and for who Betacourt could be going is uncertain at this point.

– Count the Reds in as a possible suitor for Rockies third baseman Garrett Atkins, who is also on the Red Sox radar due to Mike Lowell’s injury.

– If you thought Nick Johnson and Austin Kearns were sure bets to be traded by the Nationals, think again. GM Mike Rizzo told ESPN The Magazine that, “We don’t have to move money, and that unites our hands a little bit. That means we’re going to make good solid baseball decisions, based on building this franchise the right way.

– Gil Meche doesn’t want to go anywhere according to the Kansas City Star, and isn’t inclined to give up his no-trade clause so the Royals can deal him.

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Firesale to continue? Pirates exploring trades for Sanchez, LaRoche

In recent weeks, the last place Pirates have already traded away popular centerfielder Nate McLouth to the Braves, and speedy outfielder Nyjer Morgan, backup fielder Eric Hinske and reliever Sean Burnett to the Nationals. And despite some Bucs players (ahem, Jack Wilson) being critical of the front office’s shrewd moves, more might be coming.

According to a report by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, the Pirates and Giants have had trade talks involving second baseman Freddy Sanchez and first baseman Adam LaRoche. Although both players are being discussed, Sanchez appears to be the Giants’ main target of interest because they prefer a right-handed first basemen and LaRoche is a lefty.

San Fran is currently 1.5 games up on Milwaukee for the NL Wild Card lead and desperately needs offense despite recently feasting on Houston pitching over the weekend (the Giants scored 23 runs in three games). They currently have a gaping hole at second base, where Emmanuel Burriss, Matt Downs, Kevin Frandsen and Juan Uribe have all split time this season.

Sanchez, who currently leads the Pirates in average (.316) and on-base percentage (.832), would be an excellent fit for a Giants team that has a postseason berth in their sights but also doesn’t want to give up future prospects in the process. A deal including 26-year old lefty starter Jonathan Sanchez and a prospect or two would probably net Freddy Sanchez, all while allowing San Fran to hang onto top farm players Madison Bumgarner, Tim Alderson, Angel Villalona and Buster Posey.

While moving either Sanchez or LaRoche (or both) would cause another ripple affect on the Pirates’ clubhouse and their fan base, both players can be free agents next year and obviously aren’t in Pittsburgh’s future plans. Much like their prior deals involving McLouth and Morgan, the Bucs are probably hoping to get young players in return in an attempt (however feeble it may be) to compete down the line.

Jonathan Sanchez has struggled mightily this year, but he was viewed as a potential No. 3 starter as early as this year and he has excellent stuff. He has major control issues that need to be ironed out, but at 26 years old he still has a ton of potential and is a high strikeout pitcher.

We’ll see if the Pirates and Giants eventually pull the trigger on a deal.

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