While the Yankees scan the market for potential bargains, their rivals are looking to make a high-impact trade.

The Red Sox, who have fallen 31/2 games behind the Yankees in the American League East, have tried to revitalize their slumping club by speaking with Toronto about Roy Halladay, with Cleveland about Victor Martinez and with San Diego about Adrian Gonzalez.

Toronto also would be willing to trade Marco Scutaro, and the Red Sox could use an upgrade at shortstop.

The Yankees have maintained contact with the Blue Jays, but Hal Steinbrenner doesn't want to take on significant payroll, and Brian Cashman doesn't want to trade major prospects for a year-and-two-months rental, as Halladay would be.

The Blue Jays increased their scouting coverage of the Yankees' farm system last week, but that could wind up leading to a trade for a Toronto reliever - lefthander Scott Downs or righthander Jason Frasor - rather than Halladay. Alfredo Aceves' right shoulder woes could spur the Yankees to add a reliever.

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The Yankees continue to have some interest in Seattle lefthander Jarrod Washburn, although the Mariners' trade with Pittsburgh Wednesday - in which the M's acquired pitcher Ian Snell and shortstop Jack Wilson in return for shortstop Ronny Cedeno and four minor leaguers - might motivate the M's to keep Washburn for a little longer. The deal also took Snell, in whom the Yankees had some interest, off the board.

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In their quest to add starting pitching options, the Yankees acquired righthander Jason Hirsh from Colorado and assigned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Hirsh, a 27-year-old righthander, spent the entire season with the Rockies' Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs, going 6-7 with a 6.66 ERA.

The Yankees are also looking for a reserve outfielder to replace the injured Brett Gardner.

While the Yankees have gone 11-2 since the All-Star break, the Red Sox have hit a wall, going 4-8 in the same period. Since they have struggled both scoring runs and preventing them, they have engaged in trade discussions that would bring improvements in both areas.

The Red Sox have told Toronto they'd be willing to include young righthander Clay Buchholz in a trade for Halladay. Nevertheless, in order for the Blue Jays to trade Halladay within the AL East, they believe they must receive an even greater return than from a club outside the division.