Mets owner Fred Wilpon signed off today on absorbing the entire $64 million remaining on Manny Ramirez's contract, the Daily News has learned, an absolute condition on the part of the Red Sox, who would have received Mike Cameron, Aaron Heilman and former first-round draft pick Lastings Milledge from the Mets, and Aubrey Huff from the Devil Rays. ...No way the Sox lose Hanley, but I believe the Sox would like to move Manny before he becomes a 10/5 man. That is likely more important to the front office than Manny's "antics". ... And if the only stumbling block is that Tampa is demanding Boston's top prospect -- and I'm not sure that it is -- I think this deal will happen in some form.
"This thing can get done if Chuck [Lamar] stops overreaching," said one official familiar with the negotiations. ...
The initial driving force behind the spirited discussions had been Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, who had been incensed by Manny Ramirez's recent behavior ... Lucchino's willingness to part with Ramirez ... had created a division within the Sox hierarchy. GM Theo Epstein and other front-office personnel were against trading Ramirez, realizing that would be the start of a need to retool the entire team.
Cooler heads seemed to prevail in Boston late Friday, signaling Ramirez would stay in Boston, then talks reheated today.
Also, the story has some funny stuff from Pedro, who told the paper that "Ramirez's wife Juliana has been uncomfortable in Boston and a driving force behind his dissatisfaction there." ... I haven't seen that reported anywhere else.