IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

No takers likely for Ramirez

/ Source: Associated Press Sports

Manny Ramirez's massive contract is scaring teams more than his offense is impressing them.

       The slugging left fielder, placed on irrevocable waivers by the Boston Red Sox, isn't likely to be claimed by any other team by 1 p.m. EDT Friday because of his expensive deal.

       If, as expected, no team claimed him, Ramirez and his contract would remain with Boston, although the team could pursue a trade in which it might pay part of his salary.

       Ramirez has five years and $101.5 million remaining on a $160 million, eight-year contract, and would get an extra $1 million if he switches teams. He is scheduled to make $20.5 million next season.

       The move to place Ramirez on waivers Wednesday — two days after manager Grady Little was let go — was confirmed to The Associated Press by a baseball executive. Red Sox officials refused to comment.

       ''There is a $250,000 fine for discussing the waiver process,'' the team's principal owner, John Henry, said in an e-mail response to The AP's request for comment. ''I cannot comment on which players may or may not be on waivers.''

       Team president Larry Lucchino said Thursday through his assistant that he wasn't allowed to comment on waiver issues. Calls to Ramirez's agent, Jeff Moorad, and Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein were not returned.

       Ramirez's price leaves few teams in a financial position to claim him and pay the entire amount. It also could hurt Boston's ability to keep some of its other stars who can become free agents after next season — pitchers Pedro Martinez and Derek Lowe, shortstop Nomar Garciaparra, catcher Jason Varitek and right fielder Trot Nixon.

       Even the New York Yankees, whose payroll of $164 million — not including postseason and award bonuses — is the highest in the major leagues, wouldn't bite.

       They had no interest in claiming the slugging left fielder, a top baseball executive familiar with the team's plans said Thursday on the condition of anonymity.

       Clubs often place many of their players on waivers to gauge other teams' interest and to lay the groundwork for trades, but most are not claimed and the moves rarely become public knowledge.

       ''When you put a player through waivers, you're letting teams know they don't want anything in return,'' said Scott Boras, a prominent agent who negotiated Alex Rodriguez's $252 million, 10-year contract with Texas.

       Ramirez led the AL with a .427 on-base percentage and 28 intentional walks this year, outstanding numbers for a Red Sox team that emphasizes a player's ability to get on base. He also had 37 homers and 104 RBIs.

       Other changes are likely for the Red Sox as they try to improve the fielding and pitching on a team that set a major-league record with a .491 slugging percentage.

       Boston's season ended five outs short of the World Series when it squandered a 5-2 lead with one out in the bottom of the eighth of the seventh game of the AL championship series against the Yankees.

       New York tied it in that inning and won 6-5 in the 11th.

       Little was criticized for leaving Martinez on the mound in the eighth and was let go, in part, because of management concerns that he didn't make enough use of statistics and analyses provided him by the club.

       While Ramirez is an outstanding hitter, he is no better than an average fielder who lacks hustle on the bases. Amiable off the field, he sometimes upsets team officials with his behavior.

       He was benched by Little late in the 2003 season after he missed a crucial series against the Yankees with a sore throat and fever, yet got together with New York infielder Enrique Wilson to reminisce about their days in Cleveland.

       Ramirez spent seven seasons with Cleveland then hit .306, .349 and .325 over the next three years with Boston. He led the AL in batting in 2002 and was second to teammate Bill Mueller's .326 in 2003. He has 111 homers and 336 RBIs with the Red Sox since former general manager Dan Duquette signed him.

       ''This club inherited this contract. Their analysis must consider something other than his performance on the field,'' Boras said. ''When you look at his on-the-field performance, I think he's performing at a very high level. Obviously, the club must have other factors in their decision.''

       Ramirez is scheduled to make $20 million in 2005, $19 million in 2006, $18 million in 2007 and $20 million in 2008. He is owed $5 million of his $16 million signing bonus. The team also holds $20 million options for both 2009 and 2010.

       AP sports writer Ronald Blum contributed to this story.