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Busy in Boston

Red Sox among teams pursuing Dye, Gagne

Posted: Tuesday July 31, 2007 1:43AM; Updated: Wednesday August 1, 2007 4:50PM
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Jermaine Dye has 19 homers and 52 RBIs, but his .235 batting average is 80 points lower than last season's.
Jermaine Dye has 19 homers and 52 RBIs, but his .235 batting average is 80 points lower than last season's.
Chuck Rydlewski/WireImage.com
Trade Deadline 2007
HEYMAN: Winners, losers, grades from deadline
SMITH: Top eight prospects to change hands
HEYMAN: Red Sox, Rangers agree on Gagne trade
HEYMAN: Giants swap Morris for Pirates outfielder
SHEEHAN: Analyzing Teixeira, Castillo trades
HEYMAN: Padres acquire White Sox OF Mackowiak
HEYMAN: Yanks, Dodgers trade Proctor for Betemit
HEYMAN: Rangers get nice haul for Teixeira
HEYMAN: Braves trade for Teixeira, pursue Dotel
HEYMAN: Mets get Gold Glover Castillo from Twins
REACT: Are the Red Sox World Series favorites?
Photos: Best midseason acquisitions ever
QUINTONG: How will Teixeira impact your league?
Nationals keep Cordero, stand pat at deadline
Mariners ship troubled Mateo to Philadelphia
Braves get Dotel from Royals; Teixeira deal official
Busy Padres make three deals before deadline
Red Sox send Pineiro to Cards for minor leaguer

Also in this column:
• The chase for Gagne
• Garland staying put?
• More news and notes

The Red Sox, who like to aim high, were still trying to beat the Dodgers, Angels and Diamondbacks for star outfielder Jermaine Dye as the trade deadline approached.

Boston is offering talented but underachieving outfielder Wily Mo Pena and a reliever for Dye, who is likely to be dealt somewhere before Tuesday's 4 p.m. EDT waiver deadline. The Red Sox would appear to be the favorite, but complicating matters is that one of only four teams covered by Dye's no-trade provision happens to be Boston.

Dye's agent Bob Bry, reached by phone on Monday, said Dye would most prefer to remain with the White Sox. However, the strong possibility still existed that Dye could wind up changing Sox. Red Sox, Yanks vie for Gagne

The Red Sox were said to be leading at least a four-team race for star Rangers closer Eric Gagne, but Texas was still remaining noncommittal about whether they'd trade Gagne at all.

As with Dye, the Red Sox face the same complication, in that they aren't one of Gagne's 12 approved teams. Both the Yankees and Mets are on the approved list, meaning Gagne couldn't veto a trade to become an eighth-inning pitcher New York, as much as he may want to.

The Brewers, who also are believed to be on Gagne's pre-approved list, also are believed to be in the mix. Brewers GM Doug Melvin has made a blockbuster deal with his former Rangers team last year, and while Melvin got closer Francisco Cordero in that deal, he hasn't ruled out adding Gagne to his already strong bullpen.

The Red Sox are said willing to make concessions to Gagne to accept a trade, and may even make Gagne whole on his $5-million incentive package based on games finished. As a set-up man in Boston, he wouldn't be finishing games, but the Red Sox know they need to compensate Gagne to lure him to Boston.

However, Gagne, who is the alltime leader in save percentage at 96.2 percent, is believed married to the ninth inning, and the Red Sox already have one of baseball's top two or three closers in Jonathan Papelbon, who graciously sacrificed his position in the rotation to aid the team.

Gagne, a free-agent-to-be, has told the Rangers he'd have interest in remaining with them, although he's committing to playing out the season before signing a contract.

The Rangers, who exacted a steep price for Mark Teixeira (the Braves approved of Teixeira's medical records, according to a source, and all that awaits is final approval of that six-player blockbuster), were shooting for big-name prospects for Gagne.

From the Yankees, they've been asking for one of three pitching prospects: Joba Chamberlain (who's been lighting up at 98 mph and may be a candidate to set up Mariano Rivera, as well), Phil Hughes or Ian Kennedy.

From the Mets, they've requested Carlos Gomez, who happens to be one of Omar Minaya's favorite players. No shot there.

The Red Sox have some top pitching prospects who'd probably interest Texas, such as Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Manny Delcarmen and Craig Hansen.

Update: Red Sox close in on Gagne

The Red Sox and Texas Rangers have agreed in principle to a trade involving Eric Gagne, and the Red Sox are now negotiating with the former Cy Young winner to get him to accept the trade.

The Rangers are set to receive prospects in the deal. Boston is not on Gagne's approved list of 12 teams to which he can be traded.

Garland's name keeps popping up

The Dodgers and Mets are among the teams that have inquired about top White Sox starter Jon Garland, who's by far the best starting pitcher to be mentioned at this deadline. However, Chicago will expect premium young players in return, exactly the sort of players that teams are afraid to trade, so a deal for Garland remains a long shot. Although with aggressive GM Ken Williams, who will trade Dye, nothing should be ruled out. He isn't opposed to a makeover.

Both the Dodgers and Mets have talented young players but don't appear anxious to deal them. The Dodgers have pitchers Chad Billingsley and Jon Meloan, outfielders Andre Ethier and Matt Kemp and third baseman Andy LaRoche, among others. The Mets have outfielders Gomez, Fernando Martinez and Lastings Milledge, and pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Phil Humber.

The Mets say they expect Pedro Martinez to come back to help them. They also say all three of their coveted outfielders are untouchable.

Talks with the Dodgers may have stalled, as L.A. is reportedly engaging the A's about Joe Blanton, who has also drawn interest from a few other teams. Blanton isn't nearly as accomplished as Garland, but he's a lot cheaper since he's only eligible for salary arbitration starting next season.

The Diamondbacks made a brief pass at Garland but that went nowhere.

Around the majors

• After losing out on Teixeira, the Angels are not being very aggressive about either Adam Dunn or Dye, possibly because they believe Juan Rivera will come back and help them. Also, they're just not the aggressive type.

• Their offer for Teixeira wasn't bad, though: Casey Kotchman and Joe Saunders make a nice package. But Texas couldn't resist what Atlanta surrendered: switch-hitting catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, shortstop Elvis Andrus, pitcher Neftali Feliz and a player to be named. That fourth player could be left-handed pitcher Matt Harrison if his iffy shoulder checks out.

• The long-discussed Scott Proctor-for-Wilson Betemit deal between the Yankees and Dodgers is still on the table.

• People around the game believe that once the Teixeira deal gets final approval (that should come Tuesday), the Braves will complete their deal to get Octavio Dotel. The Kansas City Star said the Braves were planning to ship pitcher Kyle Davies to the Royals for Dotel.

Dan Wheeler just got to Tampa Bay, but already his name is coming up in trade talks. The Indians have inquired about both him and Al Reyes, who did a splendid job as the Devil Rays closer earlier this year.

• The Mets are considering a deal to add Jeff Conine for their bench even though they already strengthened their reserve corps by demoting Ruben Gotay, who lost his second-base job when the club acquired Luis Castillo from the Twins.

Hank Aaron finally commented on Barry Bonds, saying, "I am making a comment by not making a comment.'' That is the classy way of saying he wishes Bonds nothing but the worst.