Red Sox still trying to honor Manny's trade request

BOSTON -- The Boston Red Sox will keep trying to trade
slugger Manny Ramirez even though talks with the Baltimore Orioles
appear to have stalled.

Ramirez, the only World Series MVP in franchise history, has
never been comfortable in Boston since signing an eight-year,
$160-million contract five years ago. He has asked several times
for a trade, and the team said it would try to find a deal it likes
this winter.

"I think Manny knows that we have made a good faith effort to
meet his ... request," co-general manager Jed Hoyer said Thursday
night before the annual dinner hosted by the Boston chapter of the
Baseball Writers Association of America.

"We haven't found a deal that works for us. I know that he is
happy that we've talked to teams and shown a good-faith effort to
trade him."

The Red Sox had talked to the New York Mets, then turned their
attention to the Orioles when shortstop Miguel Tejada asked them to
trade him. But Tejada then said he would stay in Baltimore, and
Ramirez reportedly said he would stay in Boston.

"To hold onto Manny's bat in the lineup, I'm glad he decided to
stay," said Tim Wakefield, who won the Red Sox Pitcher of the Year

But Wakefield bade farewell to first baseman Kevin Millar, the
clubhouse cutup who agreed to a deal with the Baltimore Orioles on

"Kevin will be missed," Wakefield said. "He was the guy that
always kept things light and humorous and funny. Baltimore is
getting a pretty good hitter and a great teammate, a guy that makes
things fun."

Trade talks also continue for lefty David Wells, who asked to go
to a team closer to his West Coast home. Hoyer also said the team
will bring in a center fielder from outside the organization to
replace Johnny Damon, who signed with the New York Yankees.

"We're making a lot of phone calls and we're working towards
it," he said. "We have a list of guys we're going after and we're
going after them hard and I think we're very confident we'll have a
very good center fielder in 2006."

Hoyer said he has gotten good reports on both righty Curt
Schilling and closer Keith Foulke, two stars of World Series run
who struggled last season with injuries. Foulke will start the
season as the closer, Hoyer said.

The team is prepared to go with Alex Cora at shortstop, and
prospect Dustin Pedroia backing him up, if necessary.

"The season doesn't start for quite a while, and I think
there's a lot of teams with openings right now and there's a lot of
talk right now," Hoyer said. "The fans want a good leadoff hitter
and a good center fielder. I think that's what we're trying to give
them. We're not just trying to fill holes as quickly as possible to
talk them off the bridge."