It was only 11 months ago that Red Sox fans were holding their breath at the trading deadline, concerned that Manny Ramirez would be dealt to the New York Mets. Among the players the Sox were seeking in return at that time was Lastings Milledge, the rookie left fielder whose misplays on each of the last two nights have contributed to Red Sox wins over the Mets.
With the July 31 trading deadline only a month away, is there reason to expect a similar scenario this summer? No, was the emphatic answer from Greg Genske, Ramirez’s agent, who said yesterday that “Manny wants to remain a Red Sox for the rest of this year and hopefully for the rest of his career.”
Genske said he told Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein of Ramirez’s desire to stay late last month, when the agent came to Boston to visit Ramirez.
“I really give a lot of credit to Theo and Terry Francona for a great job making Manny feel comfortable. He’s really come to appreciate his situation with the Red Sox, both with the team and the city.”
Francona said today that Epstein had relayed the agent’s remarks to him.
“I don’t think I needed to hear that,” he said. “I think players’ actions, the way they handle themselves … that’s what’s important to me. Manny’s been stellar. His communication with me and the coaches [has been good].”
Epstein has explored trading Ramirez on several occasions in the past. He placed him on irrevocable waivers after the 2003 season and also attempted to package Ramirez in a deal with lefthander Jon Lester for Alex Rodriguez that same winter.
“It’s always a two-way street when talking about potential deals or Manny leaving,” Genske said. “We can only control our side of the street. And on our side of the street, there’s no trade considerations. He’s happy.”
Ramirez is hitting .302 with 20 homers and 53 RBIs, and is currently the leading vote-getter on American League All-Star ballots. He has been particularly hot during Boston’s 11-game winning streak, hitting .400 with 12 RBIs over that span.
Ramirez is under contract for the next two seasons (at an average of $19 million per), with team options for 2009 and 2010 ($20 million apiece). Genske said that Ramirez has not broached the subject of the Red Sox exercising the option years.
“Manny is just focused on this year,” Genske said. “The Red Sox have something special going.”