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Schilling: Keeping Manny could be a problem

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  July 31, 2008 09:25 AM

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July 11, 2004: Prior to a Red Sox-Rangers game, during batting practice, pitcher Curt Schilling (left) had a rather long, animated conversation with teammate Manny Ramirez (right), who asked out of the starting lineup, sighting a hamstring problem. Schilling did most of the talking.

(7.11.04: Jim Davis / Boston Globe File Photo)

Rehabbing Red Sox righthander Curt Schilling this morning said he thought the Manny Ramirez situation has affected the team and keeping him in Boston for the stretch run could present a problem.

"At the end of the day you're taking the field with a guy who doesn't want to play with you, doesn't want to be there, doesn't want to ... obviously effort-wise is just not there and that's disheartening and disappointing," Schilling said during his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI's Dennis and Callahan program.

Does he think it's time for Manny to go?

"Would I be the only guy in the New England area that said no if I did?" Schilling replied to the question. "I think I'm probably with the consensus. It's very obvious from anything you see or hear he doesn't want to be here. And anytime that there's a piece of the equation you have a problem, and then not trading and leaving him here is a problem because you don't know what you're going to get."

Schilling was asked if he was insulted by Manny's "the Red Sox don't deserve a player like me" comment.

"I was here for the end of both Pedro [Martinez] and Nomar's [Garciaparra] situation and I'm not sure how there's any parallels there," Schilling said. "... I've always felt the organization extended a lot of courtesy Manny's way and I know Terry [Francona] as a manager, like with everybody else he went that extra mile for Manny. It's disappointing to see that not get recognized, but that happens.

"The hard part for me was this [situation with Manny] derailed into a train wreck so quick, so fast, and so oddly. You had the Buddah Zen Master guy in spring training, reading and 'life is good, don't worry be happy' and it just looked like he was poised to have a monster season. Physically he worked his butt off. Obviously he wants to play longer. Anytime a guy like that is motivated, you get excited. You get a chance to see some stuff...

"We had a conversation a little while back, talking about what he should do and how things are gonna go and there's just really not a reason from a business standpoint for the Red Sox to do anything right now. There really wouldn't... Why would they? Given your age and the contract situations. Why would they not just kind of wait and see how things played out. I think there was, maybe there's some feeling on his part that if he did what he did last winter and he came out and had a monster first couple of months that they'd sit down and say 'OK we want to keep you here the next four years, let's get something done,' and it felt like to me that the second he realized that that was not an option, this just went straight downhill."

Could this situation have caused the Red Sox, losers of 4 of their last 5 on this homestand, to lose its focus?

"Absolutely, absolutely," Schilling said. "This is one of those things ... the trading deadline is always a weird time for everybody, no matter what team you play for but this ... when things are going on with Manny, the fact that Manny's locker was in the back, and not with the rest of the guys, ended up being a thing that worked because media wasn't hovering, there wasn't stuff going on, but it appears to me that he's moved out into the clubhouse now to try and make sure he gets his message broadcast and that's ... it's not fun.

"I would absolutely agree that it's affected this team. I don't question it. I've been around when it did before in '06. These are your teammates and it just makes it hard when every question, you're struggling in a 1-for-14 and grinding your [expletive] off at the plate and every question is about something that you have absolutely no control over..."

Schilling also said would give Jason Bay his No. 38 (and Bay's number with the Pirates) if Bay ends up joining the Red Sox in exchange for someone to give a five-figure donation to his charity, Curt's Pitch. "It pretty much can be had right now... yeah ...we'll work something out," Schilling said.

More quotes of note from Schilling:

  • Will Manny be traded by 4 p.m. today?

    “I don’t know… there’s always a part of some people that you want to see somebody not get what they want. You know?... Oh sure, [he’s going to win this showdown]. Manny’s going to be a free agent no matter what next year. It doesn’t matter where you play… It’s unfortunate that someone who’s going to be considered one of the greatest hitters that ever lived, is going to just be one of the greatest hitters that ever lived.”

  • Did Manny lose support of teammates after Jack McCormick incident?

    “I don’t know. I don’t know how much support really is there. You’re talking about a very different man. Manny is, as we all know, one of the most talented right-handed hitters that’s ever played but I’m not sure it goes beyond that for a lot of us… the guy can hit and hit like nobody else ever could hit. I don’t know that there are a lot of guys… he has his moments when you sit and talk to him and he walks away and you go ‘wow, who is that guy?’ He’s got a soft heart at times but I never invested a whole lot there when the issues that I… the times that I had questions… problems, I talked to Manny, and we had our run-ins and there was a couple of times when I thought I was going to have a run-in and was told not to, but I don’t know about that losing [support from the] team. I don’t think there’s a lot invested there.”

  • Have any teammates told Manny to knock it off?

    “Recently I don’t know… I don’t know, I can’t answer that… I’ve had my moments, and that was both smiled upon and frowned upon when they happened in different times… the club is struggling enough where everyone is worrying about themselves. … This is not the first time a situation’s come up like this with Manny. There have questions in the past about things. So it’s not a Youkilis or a Pedroia thing [to sit down with Manny], neither one of those guys is that person. Mike Lowell, yeah I could absolutely see it. Jason [Varitek], yeah., but not a lot of guys are suited to be that person, or in a position to do that.”

  • Does he wish that Terry Francona would do what Jimi Williams did to Pedro Martinez when the former Sox manager told Martinez he wouldn’t be starting when Pedro showed up late to the ballpark?

    “I’m not so sure, well… I would tell you that something to that affect at different times has happened already. You guys didn’t know about it, but it’s happened. He’s already had a couple of times when I think [Francona’s] said, ‘That’s enough.” I think early on he did it a couple of times and was called on the carpet by other people for it, and then finally people understood what he was dealing with and came to his side a little bit more.”

  • On Manny’s effort running up the first-base line on a ground ball behind third base during John Lackey’s no-hit bid on Tuesday night.

    “I laugh at the fact that people are like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe that… on this night he didn’t…,” like that night was any different than any other night for him. .. It’s stunning to me that it just was OK I guess, the other day for things to go the way they went. It’s gonna be funny to watch all the people jump if Manny does get traded and things happen, how many people in the media area going to come out of the woodwork and say, ‘you players are idiots, you let him be like this for so long,’ and the media’s given him, for the mos part, every bit the free ride everybody else has... I thought it was telling the other night when someone asked about Manny's run down to first and I thought Terry's answer was something like, 'well, he does that a lot.' Think about that. That's someone saying, 'what do you think about this guy half-assing down the line and the manager saying, 'yeah, that happens a lot.' Again, things you kind of look at and go, 'What, we just move on?' Why is that the breaking point for people. Why after all this stuff in all the years, why is that like the breaking point?"

  • Is Manny quirky or a distraction?

    “..I’ve always wondered how we came to be OK with ‘… he’s just not gonna play hard today,’ and that was OK. We’ve come a long way, especially in this city as devoted and as much as the Red Sox mean to people, the fact that you could have a Dustin Pedroia, a Jason Varitek, someone who would bleed and literally play his nine breaths to make an out or get a hit or win a game, and have somebody at the other end of the spectrum from a committed standpoint, you know these players love the uniform, love the fans, and believe in Red Sox and what it means to be a part of this and then you have guys who really don’t give a [expletive].”

  • Is there a better place for Manny to play than Boston?

    “No, no… when you think about the history and think about the kid gloves that these fans have had through all of it, he’s always come out a hero and he’s got a chance… this is because he doesn’t have a four-year contract. That’s it… it really is. That’s his prerogative but that’s the only reason this has happened.”

  • On Scott Boras’s involvement:

    “I think absolutely he’s absolutely had a hand in this … I think he absolutely has a piece of this. Scott Boras stands to make zero dollars if the Red Sox pick up Manny’s options the next two years. Manny’s not 1- years from retirement, he’s maybe four obviously, that’s where he’s at. So does Scott Boras want to get a two year-deal for Manny or a four-year deal for Manny? At the end of the day it falls on the player because Manny’s an adult… I can’t fathom Scott hasn’t had some… you read his comments, he just has no ability to answer a question short, tactfully, and straightforward. It’s a 12 paragraph way to say 19 syllable words that you just can’t figure out what the hell he’s saying.”

  • Schilling on Pedro Martinez:

    “I enjoyed pitching with Pedro, but I watched Pedro for a year come and go as he pleased, and do whatever he pleased, from a schedule standpoint and to a point, All-Star break heading home and no one ever said a word… The things that Pedro said going out of town about Terry [Francona], that crushed me because of what I saw Tito do for him. Manny's the same way..."

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