The Los Angeles Angels appear to be the likeliest partner if/when the Sox explore dealing unhappy slugger Manny Ramirez, who again has asked out of Boston. Ramirez representative Geno Mato told Sox owner John W. Henry Friday that Ramirez wants to be dealt and will not report to spring training if he remains a member of the Red Sox.
The Sox' foremost need is pitching, and any conversation with the Angels is expected to begin with the Sox asking about 22-year-old Ervin Santana, the righthander who went 12-8 with a 4.65 ERA as a rookie. Los Angeles is looking to unload salary, specifically 40-year-old center fielder Steve Finley ($7 million in 2006) and 31-year-old Darin Erstad ($8.5 million).
The Sox aren't likely to touch Finley, but they might be willing to absorb Erstad's salary, given that he could play first base or center field.
Ramirez, during an August visit to play the Angels, confided in a veteran teammate how much he liked Anaheim. Ramirez remarked that no one bothered him during a visit to a local mall. The teammate explained the lack of fan pestering by telling Ramirez that if he played in Southern California he might be making $20 million a year, but his next-door neighbor would be making $25 million.
Excerpted from a story in today's Boston Globe.