Rodriguez-Ramirez trade may be nearing completion

Potential blockbuster deal could occur by week's end

December 16, 2003|By BOSTON GLOBE

NEW ORLEANS - The smoke and mirrors have been cleared away.

The scenario Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry has been working on for weeks, one in which his team would trade outfielder Manny Ramirez for Texas Rangers shortstop Alex Rodriguez, then turn around and trade shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to another club, is on the verge of being realized.

The trade might happen by the end of the week and no later than Christmas, according to multiple industry sources with direct knowledge of the negotiations.

"This has got to get wrapped up before the holidays," said one high-level industry source on a day in which Rangers owner Tom Hicks acknowledged speaking to Henry at least twice. "It's not good for anybody that it gets dragged out."

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 club had chosen to consummate a deal for Rodriguez instead.

Tellem's focus shifted to where Garciaparra would be traded, his preferred destination the Los Angeles Dodgers, which would mark a return to Garciaparra's Southern California roots.

Sources confirmed that the Red Sox and Dodgers have discussed a deal in which Garciaparra would go to Los Angeles for a package that would include at least Greg Miller, a prized 19-year-old pitching prospect from the Dodgers' system, and possibly another pitching prospect as well, with one or both of those pitchers packaged with Ramirez and sent to Texas for Rodriguez, the American League's reigning Most Valuable Player.

It was unclear whether the Dodgers would include a big league player as part of the deal, but left-hander Odalis Perez is no longer being mentioned.

"I did have a couple of conversations with John Henry and we agreed to a time frame that we'd like to move our discussions and get to a point where we can make a deal that would benefit both clubs or put it behind us and go about our business," Hicks told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram yesterday.

The Rangers, who have finished in last place in the AL West in all three seasons since they signed Rodriguez to a 10-year, $252 million contract, are cutting payroll.

In giving up the last seven years of Rodriguez's contract ($179 million) for the last five of Ramirez's ($97.5 million), the Rangers could save $81.5 million.

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