With the trade deadline looming, the Boston Red Sox are engaged in serious conversations to trade Manny Ramirez to the Florida Marlins, as well as other teams, sources told ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney.
The deadline to trade players without going to waivers is Thursday at 4 p.m. ET. As a player with 10 years in the majors and five with the same team, Ramirez has the right to veto any deal.
As of Thursday morning, Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas that he hasn't heard anything about a possible trade.
"Nobody has called me from Boston, and neither has my agent [Scott Boras]," Ramírez told ESPNdeportes.com. "The only thing I know of a possible trade is what I've seen in ESPN."
Olney, citing an executive involved in the conversations regarding Ramirez, reports that progress is being made Thursday. The feeling is momentum is building toward completion of a deal.
SI.com reported Thursday that Ramirez had approved a possible trade to the Marlins, but no agreement has been reached. However, Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com that he hasn't approved a trade to Florida. Ramirez said he would call Boras to check on SI.com's story.
"They haven't asked me for anything," Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com on the phone from Fenway Park before the Red Sox-Angels matchup on Wednesday night.
"The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me," Ramirez said. "During my years here, I've seen how they [the Red Sox] have mistreated other great players when they didn't want them to try to turn the fans against them.
"The Red Sox did the same with guys like Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, and now they do the same with me. Their goal is to paint me as the bad guy," Ramirez added. "I love Boston fans, but the Red Sox don't deserve me. I'm not talking about money. Mental peace has no price, and I don't have peace here."
Still, Boston players weren't convinced Ramirez would be dealt before Thursday's deadline.
"I think around here there's a lot more smoke than fire. If something happens, it happens," Boston's Mike Lowell said.
The deal might be a long shot, but Marlins president David Samson didn't rule it out Wednesday.
On his weekly radio show, Samson addressed reports the Marlins are discussing a trade to acquire Ramirez from the Red Sox.
"The Marlins always seem to be in the middle of everything," Samson said on WAXY-AM. "It takes two to tango. We're looking everywhere. We're making calls. We're getting calls. But we're not going to be stupid."
Asked specifically whether a deal for Ramirez was possible, Samson said, "I've always told you everything is possible. There are all sorts of crazy things. There's no way to say which trades are going to happen."
Ramirez, who went 0-for-3 in the Red Sox's 9-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday night, is hitting .299 with 20 home runs and 68 RBIs this season.
If the Red Sox plan to get rid of Ramirez, they haven't told the left fielder.
"If something happens, it will not be tonight. And frankly, I don't think that will ever happen. Let's wait if something happens before 4 p.m. Thursday," Ramirez told Rojas from his home after the Red Sox's loss.
"This situation is not a strange one for me because it's more of the same story in my eight years in Boston."
To avoid losing the habit of striking weird solutions to problems, Ramirez suggested a change that would solve two issues at the moment.
"I should go to Green Bay straight up and they should send Brett Favre to Boston. That will end two soap operas at the same time," Ramirez told Rojas.
Ramirez makes nearly as much as the Marlins' entire roster -- he's in the final guaranteed year of his eight-year, $160 million contract. The Red Sox have options for each of the next two seasons at $20 million.
The Marlins' payroll of $22 million is by far the smallest in the majors. They're among the most surprising teams in the majors, and a 7-5 victory Wednesday over the New York Mets left them 1˝ games behind NL East leader Philadelphia. The Mets fell a half-game behind the Phils.
After the game, Florida president for baseball operations Larry Beinfest had only one comment for reporters as he attempted to cut off questions about Ramirez.
"Talk about tonight's game, guys," Beinfest said.
Ramirez's often turbulent relationship with the Red Sox took a new twist Sunday when he said, "I'm tired of them. They're tired of me."
But there's a good chance the Red Sox will keep him. And Samson said the Marlins might stand pat with confidence they have "as good a chance to win the division as the Mets and Phillies."
If the Red Sox make a deal with the Marlins, it is likely they would kick in money to offset Ramirez's salary, and they would look for three young players in return -- perhaps outfielder Jeremy Hermida or outfielder Josh Willingham, plus pitchers, sources told Olney and ESPN.com's Jayson Stark.
"Trying to find a match is just hard," Samson said. "I can't say teams are exactly lining up to deal with the Marlins at the moment."
The Pittsburgh Pirates have joined the talks in a possible three-way deal for Ramirez. The sides are also discussing moving lefty reliever John Grabow from Pittsburgh to the Red Sox. The current sticking point, a well-placed source told Olney, is that the Marlins want the Red Sox to add a prospect to their take in the deal.
Pittsburgh-area newspapers are reporting that sources say the Pirates could get Hermida from the Marlins and send left fielder Bay to the Red Sox while Boston would send Ramirez to Florida.
There would be other players involved in the trade as well, though who's going where depends on the report.
According to The Beaver County (Pa.) Times, the three clubs have talked about various versions of a deal including some that would send Boston rookie shortstop Jed Lowrie to the Pirates with veteran Pittsburgh shortstop Jack Wilson going to the Red Sox. The Pirates also have interest in Red Sox left-handed pitcher prospect Hunter Jones.
Part of the deal could also have Grabow going to Florida and Marlins outfield prospect Mike Stanton ending up in the Pittsburgh farm system.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, citing an unnamed source, had Ramirez going to Florida with a prospect and cash and Bay and Grabow headed for Boston, with the Pirates obtaining prospects including 21-year-old right-handed starter Ryan Tucker, who was called up from Class AA and made six appearances with the Marlins. He went 2-3 with an 8.39 ERA.
The Palm Beach Post reported on its Web site late Wednesday that the three teams had a tentative deal in which Pirates outfielder Jason Bay would land in Boston.
Responding to the report, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said: "There's no news, nothing to talk about."
Speculation about a possible Ramirez deal was greeted with amusement in the clubhouse before Florida's game Wednesday night against the Mets. Hermida was among the players mentioned in reports as possible trade bait for the Red Sox.
"You going to Boston?" teammate Dan Uggla shouted at Hermida.
"I don't know. I guess so," Hermida said with slight smile.
Hermida went 2-for-4 with a triple in Wednesday's win and said he didn't think during the game about the prospect of being traded.
"You put that aside when you step between the white lines," Hermida said. "You go out there and try to beat the Mets, and let other people take care of that stuff. I've still got a Marlins jersey on. It didn't affect me whatsoever."
Willingham has also been mentioned as a candidate to go to Boston.
"I hadn't heard anything about myself until today," Willingham said after going 2-for-3. "It's strange because that was the last thing on my mind -- a trade rumor.
"I'm happy here. Until something happens, I'll continue to be happy."
Manager Fredi Gonzalez laughed off questions about a possible deal and where Ramirez would play for Florida.
"I think we'll just straight DH him," Gonzalez said.
Information from ESPNdeportes.com's Enrique Rojas, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney, ESPN's Peter Gammons and The Associated Press was used in this report.