Trades another way to spell 'relief'

Updated: July 1, 2010, 11:22 AM ET
By Buster Olney

We've had two trades of veterans in the last week and in both cases, the team acquiring the veteran player -- the Mariners with Russell Branyan and the Rangers with Bengie Molina -- took on no salary.

The Indians are paying Branyan's salary for the rest of the year and the Giants are paying Molina's salary, which is just another sign of how little money is available.

"A lot of the trades made are going to look like this," an AL general manager mused on Wednesday evening. "There's going to be a lot of salary relief."

The Rangers needed a veteran catcher, and the way they made it work was by including reliever Chris Ray, who is making $975,000, and getting salary relief from the Giants of help offset Molina's $4.5 million salary. This way, the Rangers' payroll stays in place. In return, Texas gave up a mid-tier prospect.

The Rangers are hoping that Molina can help them, writes Evan Grant. The Rangers still need a nudge from a judge, writes Randy Galloway.

With Molina gone, it's Posey time for the Giants, writes John Shea.

Around the league

• Heard this: While the Mariners are ready to listen to offers for Cliff Lee, rival executives say they have not started making counter-offers for the lefty. But they will soon, presumably.

A Phillies scout was on hand to see Lee pitch against the Yankees the other day, but Geoff Baker wonders if he was actually there to see somebody else.

• Later today, the results of a poll of a dozen general managers about deal-making will be published on ESPN.com, with the responses to these five questions: