We'll start this morning where we left off last night (well, about six hours ago) and suggest you check back throughout the day as the 4 p.m. deadline nears:
The Rays are hoping to complete a deal today for Pirates OF Jason Bay, but their chances apparently could depend as much as anything on whether the Red Sox, Marlins and Pirates are able to complete a complicated three-way deal that was under heavy discussion late Wednesday. The key element is Manny Ramirez going to the Marlins, which in terms of finances and contractual issues makes it rather tricky, and unpredictable.
But if that part get works out, Bay would end up going to the Red Sox, which would really be tough for the Rays because instead of having the two-time All-Star playing for them they'd see him playing against them down the stretch. (Much like Xavier Nady ended up with the Yankees.)
Obviously the Rays could make a deal with the Pirates on their own (and the Red Sox and Marlins could make their own deal, or find a different third team). But the reason the Pirates want to be involved in the three-way deal is the potential return for Bay would be greater, and there is a chance they could unload more of their pieces if the deal is expanded, say to include LHP John Grabow and SS Jack Wilson.
As being reported now, the Pirates could end up with Marlins OF Jeremy Hermida (a young potential star) and two or three good prospects, though there are numerous conflicting reports. Though a deal was not completed, it sounded as if the Rays and Pirates were talking more about a package of prospects, and the Rays have been consistent in saying they would not include their elite ones, such as SS Reid Brignac, LHP David Price and RHPs Wade Davis and Jeremy Hellickson.
The Rays could end up being the Pirates' fallback plan if the Red Sox and Marlins things falls through. But what makes it really fascinating is that the Rays aren't going to just sit around and wait as they also have other options, which include Cincinnati's Adam Dunn, Philadelphia's Jayson Werth and others, possibly Minnesota's Craig Monroe. So while they might want to see first what happens with Bay, they will also pursue others, which could lead to quite a rush as the deadline approaches.
As for relievers, it seems the one the Rays really want is Colorado's Brian Fuentes, and the edge-of-contention Rockies were still wrestling Wednesday night with whether to trade him, and what the price would be if they do.
More to come ...
- MARC TOPKIN
(Pictured: Jason Bay, AP; Adam Dunn, Getty Images. Click to enlarge.)