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What is Theo Epstein Up To?

Ken Rosenthal at will be very surprised if the deadline passes without a surprise move from Red Sox GM Theo Epstein. In a great piece this morning, he points out his track record for big moves at the deadline- i.e. Manny Ramirez last year or letting Nomar Garciaparra go in '04 suggests that today will be no different.

It's not as simple as "We need a bat," or "We need a pitcher." The idea is to outscore the opponent. It could happen through run production, could happen through run prevention. All depends upon the player. All depends upon the cost.

Rosenthal points out that the Red Sox's deep pockets allow Espstein to deplete the farm system in favor of established talent, even if for short-term control.

But a growing number of executives are starting to figure out that the pendulum has swung too far, that prospects are almost ridiculously over-valued.

Think about it: Why would the Sox not trade Buchholz and other prospects for the right superstar or two? They can simply buy more young talent by going over slot in the draft or continuing their pillaging in the international market.

Other teams wish they had Epstein's resources — the ability to overpay players such as Matsuzaka and Julio Lugo and J.D. Drew and still maintain enormous payroll flexibility. The Sox make mistakes, lots of 'em in fact, but they are always in position to spend more.

It's been reported that Epstein is in talks for Padres first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and Indians catcher Victor Martinez. He might also still be pondering Jays Halladay, The New York Post is reporting that an agent who works closely and regularly with the Sox said, "They are poised to do something dramatic."

Also, from the Post:

An AL executive said the fact that Gonzalez, Martinez and Halladay are all under contract for 2010, as well, "allows them to more comfortably trade prospects. I would be shocked if they do not end up with one of those guys."