Manny, Junior in big deals on deadline day

By The Associated Press

Manny’s on the move. Junior, too.

With more than 1,100 homers between them, two of baseball’s greatest sluggers switched leagues just before the trade deadline Thursday to play prominent roles for playoff contenders.

Unhappy in Boston, Manny Ramirez got his wish when he was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a blockbuster, three-team deal that sent outfielder Jason Bay from Pittsburgh to the Red Sox.

The 38-year-old Griffey also agreed to a trade, leaving his hometown Cincinnati Reds to get back in a pennant race with the Chicago White Sox.

“I just think there’s a lot of added things he can bring,” Chicago’s Nick Swisher said. “I mean, I had posters of that guy on my wall growing up. So I think it’s going to be an awesome thing for all of us.”

Despite all kinds of names being thrown around, only a handful of deals were completed in the days leading up to the deadline. But the ones that did get done featured several big-name stars.

Mark Teixeira went from Atlanta to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday. The New York Yankees acquired Ivan Rodriguez and Xavier Nady within the past week. And a pair of top pitchers were traded in early July, with CC Sabathia going to Milwaukee and Rich Harden to the Chicago Cubs.

The only other deals announced Thursday drew little attention. Florida acquired left-handed reliever Arthur Rhodes from Seattle for Double-A pitcher Gaby Hernandez, and the Yankees sent slick-fielding shortstop Alberto Gonzalez to Washington for pitcher Jhonny Nunez in a swap of minor leaguers.

Teams can still make trades but the players involved must pass through waivers first, which limits availability.

Ramirez and Griffey could have blocked their trades, but both were happy to find new homes. It was the first time two players with at least 500 homers have been traded during the same season – let alone on the same day, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

“When a player like Manny becomes available, I don’t think there’s a manager in baseball who wouldn’t say they’re interested,” said Dodgers skipper Joe Torre, whose Yankees teams went toe-to-toe with Ramirez for years. “It was something that happened very quickly, obviously.”

As of early Thursday, it appeared Ramirez might be on his way to the Florida Marlins. But when those talks fizzled, the Red Sox and Pirates found a willing third partner in the Dodgers.

After years of speculation, Boston finally parted ways with the enigmatic outfielder – minutes before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline.

Now, Manny can be Manny on the West Coast. But he’ll be without his power-hitting partner with the Red Sox, David Ortiz.

“That was a 1-2 tandem that was one of the best in the game,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said.

The Pirates gave up Bay and received four young players: reliever Craig Hansen and outfielder Brandon Moss from Boston and third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris from the Dodgers.