Francona: 'I don't see it happening'
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Red Sox manager Terry Francona, appearing with Charlie Steiner and myself on XM Radio moments ago, said he doesn't believe Manny Ramirez will be traded.
"I don't see it happening,'' Francona said when asked about the likelihood of a deal. "Everyone hears the whispers. I don't think it's any big secret that there are times of the year that he feels Boston is closing in on him.
"But he still shows up to play. You put that bat behind David [Ortiz], that's when we're rolling. That's the biggest part of the devastation of our lineup. Rather than doing something different, you have to swallow, turn your head, take a deep breath. It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. We all have warts, we're not perfect.''
That's a definitive statement as to where the Manny talks stand after two days here in the winter meetings. The Dodgers haven't talked to the Sox since yesterday, and one baseball official whose team has been involved in Manny talks dismissed all the talk about three-way deals involving the Nationals with the (choose one) Angels, Mariners, or Giants.
"The Nationals are putting that out,'' the official said.
Remember, as I keep repeating, these situations are very fluid, but if a deal were close, Francona almost certainly would have danced around the question instead of predicting Manny will be back. In his media session just before going on the radio, he also was very careful not to criticize Ramirez, and said he did not share the concern Curt Schilling expressed on the radio last week that the Sox thought Manny might lay down (that's a paraphrase of Schilling's quotes) if he's back next season.
Hey, do I think he still could be traded? Sure, if a team buckles and decides to give the Sox all they're asking for. But it seems like the probabilities have shifted toward Manny staying.