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Manny To Mets A Possibility

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Jayson Stark of ESPN.com Insider is reporting a rumored three-team trade involving Manny Ramirez.

In the end, there might be as good a chance of Manny trading Theo Epstein this week as there is of Theo trading Manny. But it's clear the Red Sox have tried, at least. Sources confirmed they talked to the Mets and Devil Rays about a three-team swap that would, theoretically, send Ramirez and Danys Baez to the Mets, two Mets prospects and two Boston prospects to Tampa Bay, and Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron to the Red Sox.

But the team that makes the least sense for is the Red Sox, a team subtracting a $20-million cleanup hitter while it's in first place -- and winding up worse offensively, and without any kind of pitching upgrade. But in other ways, this deal isn't completely insane. Boston WOULD save $64 million, which it could use in lots of other ways. And the Mets are the ONLY possible destination for Manny, "Think about this logically," said one GM. "There are two teams that could take on a guy like that -- New York and New York. It would have to be one or the other. And it CAN'T be one (i.e., the Yankees)." So that would leave -- let's see now -- the Mets.

And the only reason not to disregard that idea completely is that the Mets GM is Omar Minaya. And Manny, said one longtime friend of Minaya, "is an obsession for Omar." The big question is: Is it an obsession to trade for him this weekend -- or just to trade for him sometime or other? Because the Red Sox have to seriously examine whether it's logical to make a move like this right now.

We all need to remember this: This isn't the Royals or the Devil Rays trying to unload a man with an obscene contract. This is a defending World Series champ, still trying to win, trying to market its 150-RBI cleanup man. And the Red Sox, according to an official one team that has been in touch with them, are making it clear that if they do make a trade, "it has to be a real trade, not a remove-this-guy-at all-costs kind of trade." The Red Sox have no interest "in taking 50 cents on the dollar," the official said. And to make it all work, "it would probably have to be more than one trade."

So the Red Sox would have to take Cameron or Huff, plus some other pieces, and turn around and make yet another deal that makes their pitching staff October-ready. And if they can't, then the Red Sox have to hang onto Ramirez, grit their teeth through as many of Manny's misadventures as possible, remind themselves of how many runs he'll drive in for the next two months and then resume this quest around Halloween. And our bet is that you'll be seeing a lot of Manny masks on the trick-or-treat circuit in New England.

Summary: Mets get Manny Ramirez and Dannys Baez, Red Sox get Aubrey Huff and Mike Cameron, Devil Rays get a mixed bag of Mets and Red Sox prospects.

Stay tuned, people, things could get interesting as Sunday's 4pm deadline approaches.

UPDATE: This deal is legit. I don't know if it's going to happen, but it's definitely more than a rumor. ESPN.com informs us that the deal hit a snag because the Red Sox were not satisfied with the package they were getting -- Mike Cameron and Aubrey Huff -- in exchange for Manny Ramirez, Kelly Shoppach, and Anibal Sanchez. They apparently asked the Mets for a "key player", and the Mets have "squashed" the deal... for now.