In a deadline day blockbuster reminiscent of the Nomar Garciaparra deal in 2004, left fielder Manny Ramirez was dealt this afternoon to the Los Angeles Dodgers as part of a three-team trade that sent Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jason Bay to the Red Sox.
To Red Sox
Craig Hansen (Relief pitcher, from Red Sox)
Brandon Moss (Outfielder, from Red Sox)
Andy LaRoche (Third baseman, from Dodgers)
Bryan Morris (Double-A pitcher, from Dodgers)
The Red Sox have yet to confirm the deal, but Edes reported that commissioner Bud Selig has put his stamp of approval on it and the Dodgers have already held a press conference. Some final paperwork needs to be completed in order for the deal to be official, according to MLB.com.
"When a player like Manny becomes available, I don't think there's a manager in baseball who wouldn't say they're interested," said Dodgers skipper Joe Torre, whose Yankees teams went toe-to-toe with Ramirez for years. "It was something that happened very quickly, obviously."
The deal was completed just before the 4 p.m. EDT deadline for making trades without waivers.
The 29-year-old Bay spoke tonight with the Globe's Amalie Benjamin and said he expects to be in Boston for tomorrow night's game.
As of early Thursday, it appeared Ramirez might be on his way to the Florida Marlins. But when those talks fizzled, the Red Sox and Pirates found a willing third partner in the Dodgers. And even just before the deadline, there were reports that Bay would be headed to the Rays, seeming to put an end to trade possibilities involving Ramirez. But those rumors proved to be false, and around 4:20 p.m. the Globe learned that the Red Sox did indeed make a deal for Manny.
A couple of hours after news of the trade broke, Ramirez was spotted at Fenway Park loading up a white SUV with gear. He drove off at 6:23 p.m.
As part of the deal, according to Edes, the Red Sox will pay the remaining $7 million of Ramirez's 2008 salary. Ramirez is in the final guaranteed season of an eight-year, $160 million contract. It also contains club options at $20 million each for 2009 and 2110.
However, SI.com reported that Ramirez agreed to sign off on any deal with the contingency that the team agree not to exercise the option years -- at $20 million per season -- on his contract, meaning Ramirez will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Ramirez, the MVP of the 2004 World Series, remains one of baseball's best hitters and has enjoyed plenty of big moments in October. But his relationship with the Red Sox soured -- again -- in recent months, prompting the All-Star outfielder to agree to the deal.
But for now, Manny can be Manny on the West Coast.
Bay is a two-time All-Star who owns a career .376 on-base percentage and a .282 lifetime batting average. He's hitting .282 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs this season. The British Columbia native and Gonzaga graduate was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2004, when he hit .282 with 26 homers and 82 RBIs. In 2005, he hit .306 with 32 homers, 101 RBIs and stole 21 bases. In 2006, he established career-highs in homers (35) and RBI (109). Last year, he again led the struggling Pirates in homers (21) and RBIs (84). Bay has one year left on a four-year, $18.25-million deal he signed in 2005. He is due $5.75 million this year and $7.5 million in 2009.
"When I went into the locker room to tell Jason, it was great news for him, but he was not anxious to leave Pittsburgh," Pirates general manager Neil Huntington told Pittsburgh television station WTAE. "He loves his teammates and the town."
The Manny trade talk really picked up in the last 24 hours. Yesterday, Ramirez had a phone conversation with Enrique Rojas, a reporter for ESPNDeportes, and took more shots at the Sox in an apparent effort to force a trade.
"The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me," Ramirez said. "During my years here I've seen how they [the Red Sox] have mistreated other great players when they didn't want them to try to turn the fans against them.
"The Red Sox did the same with guys like Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, and now they do the same with me. Their goal is to paint me as the bad guy. I love Boston fans, but the Red Sox don't deserve me. I'm not talking about money. Mental peace has no price and I don't have peace here."
This morning, in an interview on Boston sports radio station WEEI, rehabbing Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling sounded off on Manny.
"At the end of the day you're taking the field with a guy who doesn't want to play with you, doesn't want to be there, doesn't want to ... obviously effort-wise is just not there and that's disheartening and disappointing," Schilling said during his weekly appearance on the Dennis and Callahan program.
Did Schilling think it was time for Manny to go?
"Would I be the only guy in the New England area that said no if I did?" Schilling replied to the question. "I think I'm probably with the consensus. It's very obvious from anything you see or hear he doesn't want to be here. And anytime that there's a piece of the equation you have a problem, and then not trading and leaving him here is a problem because you don't know what you're going to get."
The often contentious relationship between Ramirez and the Red Sox included him requesting trades after the 2005 and 2006 season.
Earlier this season, Ramirez backhanded teammate Kevin Youkilis in the dugout and also knocked down team traveling secretary Jack McCormick in the visitors' clubhouse before a game in Houston when he asked for tickets.
And Ramirez told the Boston Herald during the All-Star break he wanted to know what his situation was and he didn't want the club to "tell you one thing and behind your back they do another thing." Red Sox owner John Henry said he found that "personally offensive."
Even before landing the enigmatic Ramirez, Los Angeles had a crowded outfield. Torre has been juggling Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre.
"You wish you had the DH," Torre said. "We didn't plan in advance how to move things around."
The Dodgers began the day one game behind first-place Arizona in the NL West, and were seeking a big bat. Boston, in the middle of the AL East race and chasing a second straight World Series title, wanted a productive hitter in return and got that in Bay.
The last-place Pirates, looking for young talent, gave up their star outfielder and got reliever Craig Hansen and outfielder Brandon Moss from Boston and third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris from the Dodgers.
LaRoche, Moss and Hansen will join Pittsburgh and Morris will go to Class A Hickory.
A first-round draft pick for the Red Sox in 2005, Hansen appeared in 32 games out of the bullpen for the Red Sox this season, posting a 1-3 record with 2 saves. Hansen allowed 29 hits in 30 2/3 innings this season, compiling a 5.58 ERA.
Moss hit .295 with 2 home runs and 11 RBIs in 34 games for the Red Sox in 2008. Optioned on July 24, the backup outfielder was playing in Pawtucket at the time of the trade.
LaRoche hasn't played much for the Dodgers. Last year, he hit .226 in 93 at-bats, and has spent much of 2008 rehabbing in the minors from March thumb surgery. He is batting .203 with 2 homers and 6 RBIs in 59 at-bats this season. The 24-year-old was drafted in the 39th round in 2003 by Los Angeles. His brother, Adam, is a first baseman for the Pirates. LaRoche hit the trading block after the Dodgers acquired third baseman Casey Blake from the Indians.
The Dodgers drafted Morris in 2006 from Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College at No. 26, making him the second of their two first-round picks (they chose highly-touted hurler Clayton Kershaw at No. 7). He missed all of 2007 recovering from Tommy John surgery and has compiled a 0.84 ERA in his last four starts for the Dodgers' A-ball affiliate. In 2005, the 6-foot-3, 175-pound righthander was chosen out of high school by Tampa Bay and agreed to a signing bonus, but the deal fell through when the Rays changed management.
The Globe's Gordon Edes and Nick Cafardo, Boston.com's Gary Dzen and Matt Porter, and the Associated Press contributed to this report.