Addition below: Boras meeting.
Following up his comments to WBZ's Dan Roche, Peter Gammons unloads double barrels of venom and vitriol on Manny Ramirez in his latest ESPN column.
Gammons assassinates Manny's character, calling him out as a coward who shrinks from facing certain pitchers and uninterested in anything and anyone but himself and his bulging wallet. Even if some (or even all) of what he says about Ramirez and his teammates is true -- Ken Rosenthal reported that Manny had told several teammates he was considering sitting out the entire nine-game homestand (Yankees, Angels, A's) -- Gammons's indignant and angry tone is highly unusual for a supposedly detached journalist.
But Gammons has never thought highly of Ramirez -- calling him an "overpriced DH" with "the worst contract in baseball." Manny came to the Red Sox thanks to Dan Duquette, a man for whom Gammons has made no secret of his hatred and disgust. Back when Duquette was the Red Sox GM, no Gammons column was complete without a gratuitous swipe at Duquette.
The question is: How much fire is there amid all this smoke?
In my post from yesterday, I wondered if there were any extenuating circumstances around the 12 games that Ramirez has not started this season. Adam Hart at Boston Score did some fine research.
I was reminded that Manny met with his agent Scott Boras on Friday, July 18 when the Red Sox began their road trip against the Angels. Boras told the Globe's Nick Cafardo: "We'll have a discussion about Manny's future." Manny's unhappiness with Red Sox management was reported by Rob Bradford either later that day or the following day. (Also, Bob Lobel's comments about Manny tanking against Rivera were aired on the morning of the 18th.)