CLEVELAND — The Boston Red Sox got the big bat they were looking for, acquiring All-Star slugger Victor Martinez from the Cleveland Indians on Friday.
The Indians received right-hander Justin Masterson and minor league pitchers Nick Hagadone and Bryan Price. The trade came shortly before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline to complete deals without waivers.
The 30-year-old Martinez has split his time at catcher and first base this season. The switch-hitter is batting .284 with 15 home runs and 67 RBIs.
Boston is second in the AL East behind the New York Yankees, but leads the wild-card race. Martinez leaves Cleveland a day before the Indians were to hold Victor Martinez Bobblehead Night at Progressive Field in their game against Detroit.
Martinez's deal was the second major trade in three days for the disappointing Indians, who sent Cy Young winner Cliff Lee to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday for four prospects.
Cleveland, which began the weekend 12 games out of first in the AL Central, has slashed nearly $25 million in payroll by trading Lee, Martinez, third baseman Mark DeRosa, reliever Rafael Betancourt and first baseman Ryan Garko.
"When you don't perform or have good results, things are going to happen like this," Indians center fielder Grady Sizemore said. "It's start from scratch now."
Martinez will likely share catching duties in Boston with Jason Varitek and can fill in at first base and designated hitter.
The Red Sox did not give up Clay Buchholz, one of their top pitching prospects, for Martinez. But they did part with three quality arms in order to bolster their lineup.
The versatile Masterson was Boston's second-round pick in 2006. He went 3-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 31 appearances, including six starts for the Red Sox this season. The 6-foot-6 righty was a key part of the Red Sox's run to the playoffs a year ago, going 6-5 with a 3.16 ERA in 36 games after being called up from the minors.
The 23-year-old Hagadone, a 6-foot-5 lefty, has pitched sparingly since being drafted No. 55 overall by the Red Sox in 2007. He missed much of the 2008 season after having Tommy John surgery and has worked only 25 innings this year, going 0-2 with a 2.52 ERA at Class A Greenville.
Price was drafted 45th overall in 2008. The 22-year-old righty has struggled in his first two years of pro ball, going just 5-11 record with a 4.42 ERA in 31 outings.
This marked the second straight year the Red Sox made a splash at the July 31 trade deadline. Last season, they dealt away Manny Ramirez and got Jason Bay.
In 2004, the Red Sox also made a last-minute deal, trading away popular Nomar Garciaparra and acquiring Orlando Cabrera to play shortstop. Boston went on to win the World Series that year.
The Red Sox held a three-game lead in the AL East at the All-Star break, but a five-game losing streak on the ensuing road trip dropped them into second place behind the rival Yankees.
Boston has won only four of its last 12 games, has a losing record on the road and five of the starting nine are batting .250 or below.
Boston general manager Theo Epstein has already been active this month: He traded shortstop Julio Lugo to St. Louis for minor leaguer Chris Duncan, acquired first baseman Adam LaRoche from Pittsburgh for prospects and got outfielder Brian Anderson from the Chicago White Sox for infielder Mark Kotsay.
But a bigger deal, for Toronto ace Roy Halladay, fell apart when Boston refused to part with both Buchholz and reliever Daniel Bard.