Meanwhile, Terry Francona has given Manny the rest of the weekend off, “for the good of the team”, which is fairly curious way to phrase things considering that Ramirez’ earlier insistance on time off was the catalyst for these trade talks. On one hand, the Red Sox are demanding greater value for one of the game’s most dangerous players, then they demonstrate how indispensible he is by keeping him out of the lineup.
The Mets remain interested in Danys Baez, the Rays’ closer, but will have to hustle to put together another deal by today’s deadline. They also will be hard-pressed to duplicating the power injection Ramirez would have provided to their lineup. Other available acquisitions could include Pittsburgh closer Jose Mesa and first baseman Daryle Ward. The Rangers appeared near a deal that would ship Soriano to the Twins for a package including Kyle Lohse. Mets insiders had called his acquisition a “super longshot” in recent days anyway.
The initial driving force behind the spirited discussions had been Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, who had been incensed by Ramirez’s recent behavior, from refusing to play last week after Trot Nixon suffered an oblique strain because he needed a day off despite the shortage of outfielders, to his latest annual trade request. Lucchino’s willingness to part with Ramirez, the AL’s home run and RBI leader entering the weekend, who was booed at Fenway Park on Friday night during each plate appearance, had created a division within the Sox hierarchy. GM Theo Epstein and other front-office personnel were against trading Ramirez, realizing that would be the start of a need to retool the entire team.