A-Rod/Manny Talks Resume. Sayeth the Globe: "The smoke and mirrors have been cleared away. The scenario Red Sox owner John W. Henry has been working on for weeks, one in which the Sox would trade outfielder Manny Ramirez for shortstop Alex Rodriguez, then turn around and trade shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to another club, is on the verge of being realized. Perhaps by the end of the week, no later than Christmas, according to multiple industry sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations. ... There is no more talk of Garciaparra possibly signing a contract extension with the Red Sox. Garciaparra's agent, Arn Tellem, flew back to California yesterday after meeting with the Red Sox convinced that the Sox had chosen to consummate a deal for A-Rod instead. ..."
Tony Massarotti: "It is going to happen, of course. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not even next week. But now as much as ever, there is reason to believe that Alex Rodriguez eventually will end up as a member of the Red Sox. At this stage, it is virtually impossible to believe anything else." ... The Newark Star-Ledger agrees. ... However Mazz's Herald-mate Jeff Horrigan does not. ... Jayson Stark examines the deal in depth. ... Hicks: "We're at a sensitive point. We'll know in the next few days how this is going to come out."
Gordon Edes ponders LF replacements; in-depth discussion here. ... Mark Bellhorn at 2B? ... Red Sox/Yankees: The gloves are off. ... John Sterling, card-carrying member of Al-Yankzeera.
Three quotes: Curt Schilling was at Fenway Park Saturday: "There are nights in the stadium where you feel a buzz of excitement. Here the buzz is in the street. It's freaking December. The Patriots are having a great season and they're talking about the Red Sox. That leads to excitement and nervousness. ... This is the most nervous I've ever been because of the expectations. Fear of failure is a tremendous thing for me. It motivates me and drives me. But that's what makes it exciting." ... Terry Francona: "In Philadelphia, I might get the occasional insult. These people just live and die for the Red Sox. I was told that my life as I know it had changed. And I think they were right." ... Red Sox owner John Henry posted in SoSH's epic "Manny-ARod rumor thread" at 4:26 am (was he up late or early?): "Come on now. Don't start to waver on us. It's the holidays. Be of good cheer! It's going to be just a great, exciting season. Hang in there."