|ESPN.com: Baseball||[Print without images]|
Now that the Indians have traded Cliff Lee, rival executives fully expect Cleveland to deal All-Star catcher Victor Martinez in the 48 hours before the trade deadline.
"I don't think they'd move one without thinking about moving the other," said an AL official.
The Indians had indicated to other teams for weeks that they would have to be overwhelmed in a deal for either Lee or Martinez, because they considered both players to be crucial to their chances for contending in 2010, at reasonable salaries. But with some sources indicating that Cleveland is under pressure to cut payroll, the Indians dealt Lee, who will earn $8 million for next season.
And Martinez could be next to go. Martinez, 30, is hitting .283 this season, with 15 homers and 67 RBIs, with an on-base percentage of .367. Martinez represented the Indians at the All-Star Game in St. Louis earlier this month.
The switch-hitter is earning $4.45 million this year, and he is set to earn $7 million for next year, through an option.
The Boston Red Sox have had extensive talks with the Indians about Martinez, and even after acquiring Adam LaRoche from the Pittsburgh Pirates last week, they still have interest -- although it is not exactly clear how the Red Sox would squeeze in playing time for all the players who would be affected by a trade for Martinez, most notably third baseman Mike Lowell.
The Texas Rangers and Detroit Tigers have also been talking with other teams about acquiring a hitter.
Senior writer Buster Olney covers Major League Baseball for ESPN The Magazine.