Manny the Marlin?
It's no fish story. Multiple sources said Wednesday that talks between Boston and Florida concerning outfielder Manny Ramirez are real. Even so, the chances of the two sides reaching an agreement on a trade before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET deadline appear to be small.
That the Red Sox would move Ramirez, who entered Wednesday night's game batting .301 with a team-leading 20 home runs, is no surprise, given his history and recent comments. And adding Ramirez's bat to a Florida lineup that leads the Major Leagues in home runs would certainly enhance the Marlins' postseason chances.
The surprising aspect is that the Marlins, with a $22 million player payroll, are considering taking on a player making $20 million this season with options at the same rate for 2009 and 2010.
"It'd be a rent a player, and even I can't see [Florida] agreeing unless Boston is picking up most of the tab," said one source. "They didn't keep [Miguel] Cabrera, they wouldn't keep Manny either."
Another source told MLB.com that a three-team trade involving Ramirez and two outfielders may be in the works. Under this scenario, Ramirez would go to the Marlins, Florida's Jeremy Hermida would go to Pittsburgh and Jason Bay of the Pirates would go to the Red Sox.
That makes more sense than Ramirez to the Marlins, as a stumbling block to that deal appears to be the players the Red Sox would want for Ramirez.
That issue, the money and the limited time left before the deadline are working against a Manny-to-Miami deal.
But as of early Wednesday evening, it still wasn't dead.
Elsewhere on the trade front Wednesday:
The Yankees acquired Ivan Rodriguez from the Tigers for reliever Kyle Farnsworth. Rodriguez, a 14-time All-Star, will fill New York's need behind the plate with Jorge Posada out for the season. Farnsworth, who pitched for the Tigers in 2005, will aid a bullpen that has been struggling lately.
The Astros acquired right-handed reliever LaTroy Hawkins and cash considerations from the Yankees for Minor League infielder Matt Cusick. The Astros have been looking for a reliever to ease the workload on veteran Doug Brocail.
Cusick, a 10th round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft out of Southern Cal, was batting .285 with nine homers and 38 RBIs in 94 games for Class A Lexington.
Wednesday night's games came with the most popular trade targets still with their respective teams, like Cincinnati's Adam Dunn, Oakland's Huston Street, Seattle's Arthur Rhodes and Jarrod Washburn, Colorado's Brian Fuentes and Washington's Tim Redding.
The Cubs, who will have a surplus of relievers when Kerry Wood returns from the disabled list, have been listening to inquiries regarding Scott Eyre, but nothing is imminent on that front.
The Marlins had been talking with the Giants about catcher Bengie Molina, but that appears to be off the table. Toronto's Gregg Zaun is a possibility.
Jim Molony is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.