Thursday, July 28, 2005 Updated: July 29, 9:26 AM ET
Sox will explore Ramirez trade, but will be hard
BOSTON -- Manny Ramirez's trade request will be difficult to
honor because of his contract, Boston Red Sox president Larry
Lucchino said Thursday.
Lucchino also said he didn't know the left fielder's motivation for refusing manager Terry Francona's request to play Wednesday afternoon's game at Tampa Bay after another outfielder, Trot Nixon,
was sidelined with a strained muscle in his side. Before the
injury, Francona told Ramirez he could have the day off.
Manny Ramirez wants a trade out of Boston -- at least the third time in four seasons he's demanded out.
"It's hard to know if the events of the last couple of days are
the result of sort of psychological and physical needs for a
sustained period of rest or it's some calculation or some move to
encourage us to trade him," Lucchino told WEEI radio on his
regularly scheduled segment.
Lucchino and Ramirez's agent, Scott Parker, did not immediately return phone calls seeking comment. Team owner John Henry and general manager Theo Epstein did not respond to e-mails, and the Red Sox clubhouse was locked on their day off Thursday.
Ramirez is batting .275 with 28 homers and a major
league-leading 92 RBI for the Red Sox, who lead the AL East by 1½
games over the New York Yankees. He is due $64.2 million from his
$160 million, eight-year contract: $7,213,115 from Friday through
the rest of this season from this year's $20 million salary, $19
million in 2006, $18 million in 2007 and $20 million in 2008. The
deal also includes team options for two additional seasons at $20
On Tuesday, Sports Illustrated reported on its Web site that
Ramirez, for at least the third time in four seasons, had asked to
be traded. The report said he told club officials he was unhappy in
Boston, especially with an off-field lack of privacy.
The Red Sox will explore trading him before Sunday's deadline,
but that will be tough, Lucchino said.
"Because of the size of his contract, obviously, it's hard," he said. "There aren't a lot of clubs that are going to be interested, but it depends how little you're willing to take in return with respect to trades. I'm not talking about Manny specifically, although it certainly applies to him."
A club might want to make a deal if it asks the Red Sox to pay 95 percent of Ramirez's salary, "but that's not a particularly intelligent thing for us to do," Lucchino said.
He also said this is the fourth straight season in which Ramirez has requested a trade "and our general response was, `it's that time of year' and we'll explore it as we explore other trades."
Boston may resist trading Ramirez because it is short in the outfield. With Nixon on the 15-day disabled list and Ramirez not playing, Francona used first baseman Kevin Millar in left field and
rookie Adam Stern in right Wednesday.
Despite leading the division, Red Sox officials would like to improve their postseason chances with a trade. Last year, Epstein sent shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the Chicago Cubs at the deadline.
"It is the time of year when you consider all manner of
trades," Lucchino said. "Theo is certainly willing to be bold and
make moves that other GMs might shy away from, so this is the time
for us to think about trades and, certainly, Manny's name will come
up from time to time, I'm sure, in the next 72 hours."