Trade rumors circle Boston's Ramirez

Trade rumors circle Boston's Ramirez

BOSTON -- It has been a week of non-stop news regarding Red Sox slugger Manny Ramirez.

In the latest twist, multiple news outlets reported Friday evening that the Red Sox were in talks with the Mets regarding a swap that could land Ramirez in New York and reunite him with former Boston teammate Pedro Martinez.

A report on the website of The Boston Globe, which cited "a source close to the negotiations," said the Devil Rays were involved as a third team in the exchange.

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein makes it a policy not to comment on trade rumors.

In the proposed deal, the Red Sox would get two outfielders (Mike Cameron from the Mets and Aubrey Huff from the Devil Rays); the Mets would land Ramirez's big bat and Tampa Bay closer Danys Baez; and the Devil Rays would get multiple prospects.

The trading deadline is at 4 p.m. ET on Sunday, and this one could be hard to pull off considering all of the logistics involved.

"Lots of talk. Lots of talk. But no trade," a source familiar with the talks told Friday night. "And I don't think it will be happening tonight. But we have [Saturday]."'s Jayson Stark reported late Friday that an executive with one of the three teams said that the teams have now decided if they can't get the deal patched back together by about noon Saturday, they will have no choice but to move on.

It has been a whirlwind few days for Ramirez.

Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated reported that Ramirez had recently asked Red Sox ownership for a trade, complaining of his lack of privacy in Boston.

Red Sox president/CEO Larry Lucchino confirmed the outfielder's request during a radio interview with WEEI-850 in Boston on Thursday, but admitted that it would be hard to deal Ramirez when you consider he is due to make roughly $60 million over the balance of his contract, which expires following the 2008 season.

If the Red Sox don't trade Ramirez before the end of this season, he becomes a 10-5 man (10 years in the Major Leagues, five with the same team), meaning that he would have veto power over any deal.

Ramirez became a central figure in Boston this week for other reasons as well. Following Tuesday's emotional win over the Devil Rays (when Matt Clement was struck by a line drive and Trot Nixon injured his oblique muscle), manager Terry Francona asked Ramirez if he could postpone a day off that had been originally planned for Wednesday afternoon.

Ramirez declined, saying that he needed the rest, even though the Red Sox had a scheduled day off Thursday. The result was that the left fielder received a considerable amount of boos from the Fenway faithful Friday night against the Twins. During Ramirez's time with the Red Sox, he has typically enjoyed a good relationship with the home crowd.

David Ortiz, Ramirez's close friend and fellow RBI machine, wasn't impressed by the boos.

"Terrible. They should never boo Manny here," said Ortiz. "The crowd can't be hard on Manny yet because nothing happened with Manny yet. What about if they don't get to trade Manny? They got to stick with Manny all year long. Are they going to keep booing him?"

While Ramirez seldom expresses his thoughts to the media, Ortiz said that his friend couldn't help but be hurt by the boos.

"Hey, let me tell you, he's a human being just like everyone else," said Ortiz. "I'm telling you, he's got feelings like everyone. I haven't seen a player ever who gets booed in his hometown and doesn't get bothered. You tell me one. You get booed by your own people? It's not like he has anything against the fans here, either. He's got nothing against the fans. The fans should really appreciate what Manny Ramirez has done here every year."

Ortiz, who has blossomed into a superstar since teaming with Ramirez, wonders how he might be affected by the loss of the slugger.

"If Manny's out of here, it's going to hard on everybody," said Ortiz. "It's as simple as that. Manny's one of the best hitters in the game. How do you replace a guy like that?"

Center fielder Johnny Damon agreed.

"We love Manny," said Damon. "The team we have in this clubhouse right now is good enough to win the whole thing. That being said, you know how I feel about my teammates. It won't be the same. But there's turnover in baseball year-in and year-out. We'll just have to wait and see."

Francona downplayed the incident that occurred in Tampa Bay.

"Millsy [bench coach Brad Mills] went up to him and said, 'Look, I know you're supposed to have a day off. Do you need it?' And he said, 'Yeah'. So I just moved on to, 'OK, here's what we're doing.' Again, my phone rang enough for me to know that there were some issues out there," said Francona.

"I don't think I was as [rattled] as Red Sox Nation. Sometimes, these things happen. You move on. And we actually played a good game and won. I was actually as encouraged with our play Wednesday as I have been.

"Manny goes out and he drives in a lot of runs," continued Francona. "There's an occasional bump in the road, and you deal with it the best you can. Our job is to get the most out of these players. I still contend that's what we do with everybody. We do the best we can.

"Is it always 'Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood?' No, it's got grownups playing. You know, every once in a while you have to get a little agitated. Everybody has that right. It's not the end of the world. That's kind of how I view it."

Ian Browne is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.