"A lot of ifs would have to happen," one industry source says. "For a deal like this to happen, of this magnitude ... that's a tough equation."
As noted, no GM is more creative than Epstein. And in some ways, the current Manny Dance is similar to Boston's Nomar Garciaparra situation in 2004, when Epstein stunned New England by pulling the trade trigger on the disgruntled shortstop.
That Boston is tired of Ramirez is true.
But tired enough to allow the team to become worse by unloading him?
Other Thursday trade notes:
• The Chicago Cubs, who already made a big splash with pitcher Rich Harden, are exploring deals to add a lefty-hitting right fielder. The Cubs have inquired about Seattle's Raul Ibanez, San Diego's Brian Giles and Kansas City's David DeJesus, according to sources.
• Clubs that have spoken with Seattle say one reason things are moving so slow is because interim general manager Lee Pelekoudas must get permission from above for everything he does. So while the Mariners continue to talk about Ibanez, reliever Arthur Rhodes, starter Jarrod Washburn and third baseman Adrian Beltre, the process is slow and deliberate. Plus, as an interim, Pelekoudas is auditioning for his job. "You've got a GM on trial for his job, so he's trying to hit a home run," one rival club official says.
• Florida continues its search for catching help and has discussed Bengie Molina, Texas' Gerald Laird and Toronto's Gregg Zaun. The Marlins seem most interested in Laird, but Texas' asking price -- a high-level pitching prospect -- continues to be too high.
• Minnesota has investigated upgrading at third base and shortstop, but they continue to win and Brian Buscher continues to impress at third. Still, these are rare days in Minnesota in that the Twins actually have money, for once, to spend if they see something they like. They still have reserves from the Torii Hunter-Johan Santana-Carlos Silva departures.
• The Dodgers' on-again, off-again search for a shortstop apparently is off again. Following Nomar Garciaparra's knee strain, they were prepared to disable him and resume looking for a shortstop. But then, according to a source, when manager Joe Torre told Garciaparra the club was going to disable him, Nomar said he was feeling better. He took a round of batting practice Tuesday, the Dodgers think he can make it, and with Rafael Furcal now expected back before season's end, Los Angeles apparently will not look to trade for a shortstop, after all.
• If San Diego is to deal Greg Maddux to the Dodgers, it apparently will be at the 11th hour. There is no indication so far Los Angeles is even interested, and there isn't much motivation for the Dodgers to jump Maddux's way anyway because it's clear, after he nixed a potential deal to Philadelphia, that Los Angeles is San Diego's only trade alternative. The Dodgers have been concentrating on other issues besides their pitching, though with closer Takashi Saito's elbow a fluid situation (he isn't expected back for another month), they could decide another arm is in order.