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Red Sox in 'very serious' talks with Mets about Ramirez

By Gordon Edes
Globe Staff / July 29, 2005

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The Red Sox this afternoon were involved in ''very serious'' negotiations with the New York Mets regarding a trade for outfielder Manny Ramirez, according to a source with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

That source said a third team, the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, was also involved, but as of late this afternoon, no agreement had been finalized on the other players and the money involved. Another industry source with direct knowledge of the negotiations did not confirm the three-way deal, but acknowledged that the Sox have talked to more than one team about Ramirez.

Under the principal scenario discussed by the teams -- according to one of the clubs involved in the negotiations -- the Red Sox would receive infielder/outfielder Aubrey Huff from the Devil Rays and outfielder Mike Cameron from the Mets. The Mets would receive Ramirez from the Sox and closer Danys Baez from the Devil Rays. Tampa Bay would receive a number of prospects, possibly from both clubs. If the Sox have to deal a prospect, it could be Double-A pitcher Anibal Sanchez.

''I'm not sure this thing is really going to happen, but it's definitely being discussed,'' the source said.

It is unknown whether the Mets would assume the remaining $64 million on Ramirez's contract or whether the Sox would assume some portion of that amount. The trade talks come just two days before Sunday's 4 p.m. trading deadline and in the aftermath of Ramirez's refusal to play in Wednesday's game against Tampa Bay, even though outfielder Trot Nixon had been injured the night before.

But one source stressed that the Red Sox have an additional motivation to make this deal: Ramirez, after this season, has the right to veto a trade under baseball's ''10-5'' rule, which applies to players with 10 years experience, five consecutively with the same club.

In other trade news, it appeared Friday afternoon that A.J. Burnett was staying put in Florida.

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