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Athletics wanted Anderson Espinoza for Rich Hill

That's a lot to give up for a rental arm with a lot of miles on it.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Red Sox fans have always known it would take a lot to pry a good pitcher away from his team in this sellers' market, but I don't think anyone quite realized asking prices had gotten this far out of hand. According to Buster Olney, when the Red Sox called the Athletics asking about the price to rent Rich Hill for a few months, they got quite the initial response:

Well, it's nice to dream. The Red Sox then, of course, went to San Diego and found a rather more valuable return for Espinoza than Hill, setting the market slightly lower than the Athletics were hoping.

We probably won't ever know what that second offer was from Oakland, but even just seeing that Espinoza was involved in the first does give you a sense of why the Red Sox chose to pull the trigger on Pomeranz. It's true that you can open negotiations with any names you want--the Sox could go to the Twins to ask about Tyler Pressly and have Terry Ryan ask for Mookie Betts and Yoan Moncada in return for all that it really costs Minnesota. But in reality GMs don't waste time with offers that are ridiculously above their actual asking price.

And if that sounds crazy for Hill (especially with all these blister issues popping up), well, the Athletics are in a position to be a bit crazy, especially with Pomeranz off the market. While they would very much like to come away with a big haul for Hill, the reality is if they miss out? They're probably just in a position to make Hill a qualifying offer. And frankly, with how bad the free agent starting pitching market is going to be, there's probably going to be a team out there willing to make Hill their second qualifying offer free agent of the offseason, if not their first.

Of course, for those holding out hope that the Red Sox were just going to up and add Hill too, well, that ship seems likely to have sailed. They'll muddle through with an uncertain fifth starter position, hoping Eduardo Rodriguez steps up, but willing to take their four guys into August and September and hopefully October. Meanwhile, we can all rest assured that if the Blue Jays or Orioles do finally bite the bullet and try to help their own rotations, they'll be paying a heavy price if they want to make a significant improvement with Hill.