Leaving Red Sox would 'hurt'

Updated: December 9, 2003, 8:41 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BOSTON -- Nomar Garciaparra finally made it clear: He wants to stay in Boston. He just doesn't know whether the Red Sox will keep him.

Garciaparra's future with the only professional organization he's played for would grow dim if the Red Sox obtain another star shortstop, Alex Rodriguez of Texas, in a trade for left fielder Manny Ramirez.

"I'd definitely be hurt," Garciaparra said Monday in an interview with Boston's WEEI radio. "I'm in a place that I've given so much of my life and so much of my effort."

Nomar Garciaparra
Shortstop
Boston Red Sox
Profile
2003 SEASON STATISTICS
G AB HR RBI OBP AVG
156 658 28 105 .345 .301

Garciaparra, usually reluctant to talk with reporters, said he called the station while on his honeymoon with soccer star Mia Hamm to deny reports he might not be happy in Boston.

"My heart and my first option have always been [with Boston] and it hasn't strayed from that," Garciaparra told the Boston Herald. "The ball's really in management's court. But if there is any question about my unhappiness, that's been answered."

His agent, Arn Tellem, said Garciaparra headed home from Hawaii on Monday. Earlier, Tellem told The Boston Globe that talks between the Red Sox and Rangers are a "slap in the face" to his client.

Quoted for a Tuesday story on The Globe's Web site, Red Sox owner John Henry criticized Tellem for making the remark, calling it the "height of hypocrisy."

"He says we are being disingenuous," Henry said from the Dominican Republic, where the Red Sox are opening a new facility.

"I take great umbrage in that. It is the height of hypocrisy to make statements like that," Henry said. "I hope he is being more honest with his client than he is with media."

Henry said the Red Sox made substantial contract offers to Garciaparra in the spring and again after the playoffs, but that Tellem rejected those offers.

According to one team source, the Red Sox offered $60 million over four years in spring training, The Globe reported. In November, as the market began to show the effects of the new collective bargaining agreement with less money being offered to the game's top players, the Red Sox changed their offer to between $12 and $13 million per year for four years.

Texas general manager John Hart would like to know by the end of the winter meetings whether Rodriguez, the AL MVP, will remain with the Rangers. The meetings in New Orleans run from Friday through Monday.

The Red Sox have said they will not confirm or refute trade rumors.

Garciaparra, a two-time AL batting champion, told WEEI that the Red Sox haven't told him what their plans are. He has one year and $11.5 million left on his contract.

He just bought a home in the Boston area, has a foundation there and runs baseball clinics, all indications he wants to stay with the Red Sox.

Garciaparra said the impression that he's not happy in Boston may come from a disappointed facial expression he sometimes wears when he and the team are not doing well. But his intensity on the field, he said, shows he wants to play for the Red Sox.

"I've always felt and believed that your actions speak for themselves," he told WEEI, "and I thought my actions have spoken very strongly that I wanted to be there."

His comments kicked off a very busy week for the team.

Henry and his general manager, Theo Epstein, planned to spend Tuesday and Wednesday at the opening of the Red Sox baseball academy in the Dominican Republic.

Epstein was to meet Thursday in Boston with new manager Terry Francona to discuss coaching and other issues. Then Epstein, Francona and other team officials plan to attend the winter meetings.

Epstein plans to meet in New Orleans about a contract extension for pitcher Pedro Martinez, who has one season and $17.5 million left on his deal.

The signing of free-agent pitcher Bartolo Colon with Anaheim could facilitate a deal to send Garciaparra there.

If the Red Sox obtain Rodriguez, it's believed they could trade Garciaparra to the Angels for a pitcher, possibly Jarrod Washburn, or second baseman Adam Kennedy.

Boston is looking for a second baseman after not offering arbitration to free agent Todd Walker.

The Red Sox also want to sign a free-agent closer and have targeted Keith Foulke, who could remain with Oakland. Boston had expressed interest in Minnesota free-agent Eddie Guardado, but the lefty has signed with the Mariners.

Dan Horwits, Foulke's agent, did not return a call seeking comment Monday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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