- The Washington Times - Friday, September 30, 2005

The Washington Nationals traded reliever Mike Stanton to the Boston Red Sox yesterday for a pair of pitching prospects, a rare end-of-season deal that underscores the lengths to which the Red Sox and New York Yankees will go to try to beat the other.

With Boston and New York gearing up for a potential winner-take-all series this weekend at Fenway Park, Nationals general manager Jim Bowden was able to play the two bitter rivals against each other and emerge with something in return for a player who would have been a free agent anyway.

Bowden approached both the Red Sox and Yankees in recent days to propose a deal for Stanton, who posted a 3.58 ERA in 30 games since Washington signed him at the All-Star break. Ultimately, Boston came through with a more-appealing offer: minor league right-handers Rhys Taylor and Yader Peralta.

“We saw that both the Yankees’ and Red Sox’s bullpens were struggling this week,” Bowden said. “We already had waivers on Mike, so we could trade him. So we just started calling and asked them if they had interest.”

In exchange for 20-year-old Taylor (2-2, 1.49 ERA in 11 games for the Red Sox’s Gulf Coast League squad) and 19-year-old Peralta (four saves, 4.57 ERA in 27 games for three low-level affiliates), Boston will have Stanton for only four days. Because he was not acquired before Sept. 1, the 38-year-old left-hander is not eligible for the postseason.

But considering how tight that race is, Stanton could be a difference-maker for the Red Sox. And since he’s due to become a free agent after the season, the Nationals figured they might as well get something in return for him.

“Any time you have a chance to build up your system, we’ll take advantage of it,” Bowden said. “This was a unique opportunity that we couldn’t turn down.”

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