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  • Manny wants to meet w/ Red Sox management

    source

    QUOTE
    In case you thought you had Manny Ramirez all figured out, think again.
    In fact, picture this: A smiling Ramirez meeting with the Red Sox' top brass, poring over player projection charts, stat sheets and payroll estimates, nodding thoughtfully at free agent targets and trade possibilities and then helping himself to another Red Bull before clearing his throat and speaking his mind.
    In the latest episode of the long-running comedy/drama ``Manny being Manny,'' the Red Sox' goofy, unpredictable and prolific slugger wants to sit down with the front office next month for a give-and-take session about the club's future, according to a source close to Ramirez who was authorized by the player to speak for him yesterday.
    ``I get the feeling that he wants to stay in Boston, but I also get the feeling that he wants to know what the direction of the team is going to be,'' said the source, who's been in daily contact with Ramirez since the season ended Friday. ``They still have to address the (general manager) Theo (Epstein) situation (his contract expires Oct. 31), they have all the free agents to decide on. There are issues. He wants to sit down and get a feel for where the team is headed. Manny wants the team to get better, and he is concerned.''
    How would Ramirez react if he heard something he did not want to hear or if he couldn't get a precise answer regarding his concerns? The source said there was no reason to suspect that Ramirez would use information from a meeting as the basis to suddenly request that the club pursue a deal that would get him out of town.
    ``They may have already made conscious decisions to let some players go, they may say that they're trying to bring somebody back,'' the source said. ``Manny just wants to be able to give his opinion on certain things. He's an important part of the team, and like any star player on the team, he at least wants to know what they're planning.''
    As a 10-5 veteran, Ramirez holds veto power on any trade the Red Sox may explore, but he hasn't even mentioned a trade recently.
    ``He's given me every indication he's happy where he is,'' the source said. ``He's upset that the Red Sox lost in the playoffs and he's upset that everyone's been talking about him when they shouldn't be focused on him.''
    During the American League Division Series, Foxsports.com reported that Ramirez was considering switching agents, a move that could signal the slugger soon would be seeking a trade.
    The source dismissed the report.
    ``Manny has not switched agents,'' the source said. ``He said that was all a `bunch of crock.'
    ``(The report) was a tactical move by other agents trying to stir up contract talks with other players.''
    Ramirez has three guaranteed years remaining on an eight-year deal he signed nearly five years ago worth an average annual salary of $20 million. There is close to $60 million remaining on the pact, which the Red Sox have tried to get rid of at least three separate times: after the 2003 season, after the 2004 season and at the end of this July.
    In the most recent talks, Ramirez was the focus of a three-team deal involving the Mets and Devil Rays. The talks intensified toward the July 31 deadline, which coincided with a Ramirez episode in which he declined to make a start when fellow outfielder Trot Nixon was injured.
    The episode roiled the clubhouse and sent Ramirez into a funk that precipitated a source close to Ramirez lashing out at the Red Sox and manager Terry Francona on the slugger's behalf just before the deadline.
    By all accounts, Epstein and Francona were able to smooth over the situation to the point where on July 31, Ramirez goofily announced he was happy and that this was just another case of ``Manny being Manny.''[/b][/quote]
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