There will be no trade, I'm staying in Boston, where I'm familiar with the system and where I have a lot of friends, especially David Ortiz. ... I know the American League system. That's one reason I don't want to go to the National League. I also want to play for a contender, and I think with Boston I'm assured of that.However, Manny's agent told FOXSports.com that Ramirez had denied making those comments, adding: "If Boston is able to work out a trade with Baltimore or another team, Manny is still open to making a move."
Someone who spoke with Ramirez yesterday told the Herald that it's more likely Manny has resigned himself to a trade never happening rather than withdrawing his request.
Sean McAdam writes that when the Orioles asked for Andy Marte to be included in the Ramirez/Tejada deal, the Sox asked for Jay Gibbons. Baltimore said no. ... McAdam also says Boston would trade Marte for Coco Crisp.
Ortiz spoke about the possibility of signing a long-term contract extension before spring training; he'll make $6.5 million this year and $8.4 in 2007.
I have two more years. I'd like another four or five years more. I think that would be perfect. By that time I'd be 36, so we'll see. I would like to stay.Ortiz also had heard about Manny's statement:
I don't know. I have no clue. I think Boston has been good to Manny. Manny does whatever he wants to do in Boston, and nobody messes around with him. I told him, 'Think about it before you get any ideas.'According to Peter Gammons, who held a Globe web chat this week, the Sox love Alex Cora, Schilling will be healthy, Clemens is not returning, Marte will be in Boston by mid-season, and Theo also would have traded Renteria. And:
Q: Are the Red Sox in your mind behind the Yankees and Blue Jays in the East. If yes, what are chances this could change by opening day?Gammons also wrote in his January 3 ESPN column:
PeterGammons: I think Toronto right now is the strongest contender in the AL East. Unless the Yankees all get old and their pitching disintegrates, they should be able to win 100 games. Toronto has the best pitcher in the division in Roy Halladay. And they should score a lot more runs than they did last year. My issue is a question of their middle infield defense and the depth of their pitching. What the Red Sox do between now and August 1 will answer a lot of questions.
At the moment, the Red Sox look like a team that could finish third behind the Yankees and Blue Jays in the American League East. The White Sox, Indians, Athletics and Angels appear to have better chances of making the playoffs -- and the Twins, with their pitching potential, could contend if they can find a way to score runs.