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October 18, 2012

Miami Marlins deny report of Alex Rodriguez for Heath Bell trade talks

The Marlins are in the market for a third baseman, making it their top priority this offseason.

The Marlins are in the market for a third baseman, making it their top priority this offseason.

Whether that hole is filled by Alex Rodriguez remains to be seen.

Multiple sources shot down a report Wednesday stating that the Marlins have had discussions with the New York Yankees involving a Heath Bell-for-Rodriguez deal.

“Not true,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman told yankees.com.

Two sources told The Miami Herald that there was no truth to the report.

But Keith Olbermann, in his blog for mlb.com, said “sources close to both organizations” confirmed the discussions and that the Yankees would be willing to eat the $114 million remaining on Rodriguez’s contract. In return, the Marlins would give up Bell and agree to pay the $18 million still owed to the reliever.

“None of the sources could give an indiction as to how serious the discussions have already gotten, but one of them close to the Marlins’ ownership said he believed the trade made sense for both sides, and would eventually be made in some form,” Olbermann wrote.

ESPN.com later reported that, according to a source with knowledge of the conversation, the rumor “began as a casual, joking conversation between Yankees president Randy Levine and Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.”

“Alex is Mr. Miami, it would be great if he played here for us,” Loria told Levine, according to ESPN’s source.

Levine’s reply: “You can have him.”

Rodriguez, 37, has been benched and pinch-hit for repeatedly in the postseason because of a pronounced slump at the plate.

“His bat is slowing down, and he’s getting beat by fastballs,” a scout told The Herald.

Though he has the right to veto any trade, Rodriguez might find Miami — where he grew up and attended high school — an attractive landing spot to close out his career.

• Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins was claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, and reliever Sandy Rosario was claimed by the Boston Red Sox.

The Marlins outrighted infielders Donnie Murphy, Nick Green and Gil Velazquez to Triple A New Orleans, bringing to 35 the number of players on their 40-man roster.

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