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Thursday, January 12, 2006
Red Sox still trying to honor Manny's trade request

Associated Press

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox will keep trying to trade slugger Manny Ramirez even though talks with the Baltimore Orioles appear to have stalled.

Manny Ramirez

Ramirez, the only World Series MVP in franchise history, has never been comfortable in Boston since signing an eight-year, $160-million contract five years ago. He has asked several times for a trade, and the team said it would try to find a deal it likes this winter.

"I think Manny knows that we have made a good faith effort to meet his ... request," co-general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday night before the annual dinner hosted by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

"We haven't found a deal that works for us. I know that he is happy that we've talked to teams and shown a good-faith effort to trade him."

The Red Sox had talked to the New York Mets, then turned their attention to the Orioles when shortstop Miguel Tejada asked them to trade him. But Tejada then said he would stay in Baltimore, and Ramirez reportedly said he would stay in Boston.

"To hold onto Manny's bat in the lineup, I'm glad he decided to stay," said Tim Wakefield, who won the Red Sox Pitcher of the Year Award.

But Wakefield bade farewell to first baseman Kevin Millar, the clubhouse cutup who agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.

"Kevin will be missed," Wakefield said. "He was the guy that always kept things light and humorous and funny. Baltimore is getting a pretty good hitter and a great teammate, a guy that makes things fun."

Trade talks also continue for lefty David Wells, who asked to go to a team closer to his West Coast home. Hoyer also said the team will bring in a center fielder from outside the organization to replace Johnny Damon, who signed with the New York Yankees.

"We're making a lot of phone calls and we're working towards it," he said. "We have a list of guys we're going after and we're going after them hard and I think we're very confident we'll have a very good center fielder in 2006."

Hoyer said he has gotten good reports on both righty Curt Schilling and closer Keith Foulke, two stars of World Series run who struggled last season with injuries. Foulke will start the season as the closer, Hoyer said.

The team is prepared to go with Alex Cora at shortstop, and prospect Dustin Pedroia backing him up, if necessary.

"The season doesn't start for quite a while, and I think there's a lot of teams with openings right now and there's a lot of talk right now," Hoyer said. "The fans want a good leadoff hitter and a good center fielder. I think that's what we're trying to give them. We're not just trying to fill holes as quickly as possible to talk them off the bridge."