The Boston Red Sox continue to swing for the fences, exploring impact trades on all fronts: As of Wednesday night, according to CBSSports.com sources, they were in on Toronto ace Roy Halladay, Cleveland slugger Victor Martinez and, in a very intriguing twist, San Diego first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.
The Gonzalez development is the most recent. The Red Sox had approached the Padres several weeks ago but were told at that time that Gonzalez was staying put. San Diego now appears to have had a change of heart and is at least exploring a potential deal for its All-Star slugger less than 48 hours before Friday's 4 p.m. EDT non-waivers trade deadline.
The cost-cutting Padres are looking for young, controllable players, especially starting pitchers. To move Gonzalez, it probably would cost Boston multiple young arms, likely from the group of Clay Buchholz, Michael Bowden and Daniel Bard, and probably a young position player or two.
Those also are pitchers about whom Toronto has inquired during talks for Halladay, according to sources. So Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein, who has proven adept in the past at multi-tasking down parallel trade lines, has some serious decisions to make in these last 30-some hours.
Meantime, the Padres are fielding several inquiries about closer Heath Bell and appeared to be engaged in serious discussions with the Florida Marlins. One source with knowledge of the talks said the Padres are asking for premier young pitchers and that there might not be a match.
If there is, and the Padres wind up shipping Bell to Florida and Gonzalez to Boston, then they probably could fill their closer's role with one of the young arms they acquire, such as Bard.
As for the Red Sox, it's clear that they have their sights set on an impact trade. Gonzalez or Martinez would be a huge boost to a slumping lineup. Left fielder Jason Bay, for example, was batting just .203 in the month of July into Wednesday night's game with Oakland. He had just one homer and five RBI in the month, with 24 strikeouts in 69 at-bats.
In the Halladay deal, Boston is said to be willing to part with Buchholz, he of the no-hitter two summers ago. But the Red Sox reportedly will not include outfielder Ryan Westmoreland and pitcher-shortstop Casey Kelly -- each a 2008 draft pick -- in any potential deal.