Disgruntled Ramirez to sport Dodger blue
By Howard Ulman
BOSTON ó Manny Ramirez is headed to Hollywood.
The Red Sox finally parted ways with their disgruntled slugger, sending him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a startling, three-team trade Thursday that brought Jason Bay to Boston.
Pittsburgh gave up Bay and wound up with four young players. The deal was completed just before the 4 p.m. deadline for making trades without waivers.
As of early Thursday, it appeared Ramirez might be on his way to the Florida Marlins. But when those talks fizzled, the Red Sox and Pirates found a willing third partner in the Dodgers.
iWhen a player like Manny becomes available, I donít think thereís a manager in baseball who wouldnít say theyíre interested,î said Dodgers skipper Joe Torre, whose Yankees teams went toe-to-toe with Ramirez. iIt was something that happened very quickly.î
Ramirez, the MVP of the 2004 World Series, remains one of baseballís best hitters and has enjoyed plenty of big moments in October. But his relationship with the Red Sox soured ó again ó in recent months, prompting the All-Star outfielder to agree to the deal.
Now, Manny can be Manny on the West Coast.
iManny being Manny can also mean heíll hit a lot of home runs and drive in a lot of runs,î Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said.
Even before landing the enigmatic Ramirez, Los Angeles had a crowded outfield. Torre has been juggling Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre.
iYou wish you had the DH,î Torre said. iWe didnít plan in advance how to move things around.î
The Dodgers, who began the day one game behind Arizona in the NL West, were seeking a big bat.
Boston, in the middle of the AL East race and chasing a second straight World Series title, wanted a productive hitter in return and got that in Bay.
At 29, Bay is a two-time All-Star who was hitting .282 with 22 home runs and 64 RBIs. Tampa Bay pursued Bay before he wound up with the Red Sox.
The last-place Pirates, looking for young talent, gave up their star outfielder and got reliever Craig Hansen and outfielder Brandon Moss from Boston and third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris from the Dodgers.
LaRoche, Moss and Hansen will join Pittsburgh. Morris will go to Class A Hickory.
The 36-year-old Ramirez, who hit his 500th home run this season, was batting .299 with a team-leading 20 homers and 68 RBIs for Boston. He is one of just eight players to hit at least 20 homers in 14 consecutive seasons.
The Red Sox will pay the estimated $7 million owed to Ramirez through the end of the season, at which time he can become a free agent.
Ramirez was in the final guaranteed year of an eight-year, $160 million contract, and the Red Sox held $20 million options for the next two seasons. As part of the trade, the club options were eliminated.
iWe figured we had to do it,î Colletti said. iThere was obviously a point in time that you have to make a major decision. We did, and we were glad we did it. Hopefully it pays dividends.
iWeíre confident weíve got one of the best hitters in baseball coming in here ó one of the best hitters of his generation from the right side. Heís a champion, heís a winner and we really couldnít be happier with trying to make the club better at this point in time than to do this. We wanted this player at least for the next two months and hopefully longer.î
The Pirates looked to the future with their acquisitions.
Hansen, a 24-year-old righty, was 1-3 with two saves and a 5.58 ERA in 32 games. A first-round draft choice in 2005, he became the first Boston player to reach the majors in the year was picked.
LaRoche, the younger brother of Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche, hit .203 with two home runs and six RBIs in 27 games for the Dodgers. A power-hitting prospect at 24, he spent most of this year at Triple-A Las Vegas.
Moss, also 24, split the season between Boston and Triple-A Pawtucket. He hit .295 with five doubles and two homers in 78 at-bats. Last year, he led the International League with 59 extra-base hits.
Morris, a 21-year-old righty, was 2-4 with a 3.20 ERA for Class A Great Lakes.