Red Sox saddened by Ramirez news

191542.jpg

Red Sox saddened by Ramirez news

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com

BOSTON Manny Ramirez clubbed 274 home runs and won a pair of World Series titles in his prolific Red Sox career, and his long-time teammates saw first hand how diligently the enigmatic slugger worked to become the beloved, quixotic Manny.

Thats why there seemed to be more an air of sadness than anything else when word of Ramirezs retirement filtered through the victorious postgame locker room Friday after the Sox finally secured their first victory of the 2011 season.

Many experienced first-hand the left fielders sour end to a marvelous, star-crossed tenure in Boston in 2008, and it looks like there's another unhappy ending unfolding for Man-Ram. Major League Baseball announced on Friday afternoon that Ramirez was retiring from the big leagues after reportedly failing a spring training drug test.

The failed test was going to carry a 100-game suspension, since he flunked a similar test during the 2009 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez quit his job with the Rays upon learning of the consequences.

One of his closest friends in baseball, David Ortiz, hoped there would be some kind of late-breaking news to help better understand Ramirezs final act of Manny Being Manny as an active player.

Its crazy, man. Thats the last thing I was expecting was for him to retire, and go through all of that situation, said Ortiz. I dont know all of the details. Im like you guys, and just hearing about it. Im just waiting for all of the rest of the stuff to come out. But its sad, man, that a player with that much talent and an unbelievable career . . . to get him out of the game with all of the negativity.

But well see.

Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon was a little blunter in his assessment as is within the fabric of his personality. Papelbon felt like Ramirez likely tossed away the 555 career homers, 12 All-Star appearances and .312 career batting average under the specter of performance-enhancing drugs. It would seem any Hall of Fame chances would go away along with the legitimacy of his baseball career unless theres some amazing new evidence thats yet to come to light.

It would seem there will always be a but beside all of Ramirezs accomplishments even those in Boston.

Its kind of sad that one of the best right-handers in the game is going to go down that way," said Papelbon. "Hes worked so hard to put himself into the situation hes in as one of the great hitters, and now hes gonna throw it all out the window.

I dont know much of whats going on with that, but Im not worried or thinking about it right now.

The Sox players clearly had other worries and concerns on their mind after starting the year with an 0-6 record, but the winning Sox locker room had a tinge of bittersweet emotion for a fallen ex-teammate that clearly had one more head-scratching move up his sleeve.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

McAdam: Prospects of a Papelbon-Red Sox reunion dimming

BOSTON -- Until next Wednesday, major league teams can add to their rosters and have the new additions still be eligible for postseason play.

But don't expect the Red Sox to do any serious upgrading.

The bullpen could sorely use some reinforcements, but the difficulty of obtaining help at this time of year -- when players changing teams must first clear waivers -- is problematic.

Asked recently the odds of the Sox making a deal to bolster the team's relief group, an industry source reponded: "Pretty slim.''

The source went on to say that any relievers of value have been routinely "blocked'' -- i.e., claimed by a team before being pulled back by the original club.

The few relievers who have successfully cleared waivers -- including Oakland's Ryan Madson and Chicago's David Robertson -- are those with multiyear commitments that extend beyond this season.

And just because the likes of Madson and Robertson have cleared waivers doesn't guarantee they're necessarily available. At this time of the year, teams routinely send their players through waivers to provide them with flexibilty and to determine the level of interest for deals in the off-season.

In the case of Robertson, the Red Sox would be taking on $25 million in future salary for 2017 and 2018 for a pitcher who would not be serving as their closer. The Sox control Craig Kimbrel for two more seasons, with a guaranteed contract for 2017 and a team option for 2018.

One major-league executive noted that teams are often reluctant to take on a reliever with a multiyear contract, since the existence of a future commitment could restrict a team in terms of usage.

Better to have a player on an expiring deal, the executive suggested, with no worries about future obligations.

It's still possible that the Sox could acquire Jonathan Papelbon, whose case has gone cold in the past week. Only 10 days ago, reports had Papelbon ready to sign within 24 hours with one of the handful of clubs expressing an interest in him.

But since then, Papelbon hasn't been heard from. One source indicated that Papelbon's interest in signing elsewhere may be impacted by a family situation.

Whatever the reason, the longer Papelbon goes without signing somewhere, the tougher it is to imagine him having much impact. 

Papelbon last pitched for the Washington Nationals on Aug. 6, three weeks ago. He would need some time on a minor-league assignment in order to be major league-ready for the final month.

And while Papelbon would enjoy returning to the familiarity of Boston, he's not close to the same pitcher that he was when he left after 2011. Indeed, Papelbon isn't even the same pitcher he was in his final two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

The Red Sox, reduced to matching up night after night in the eighth inning, would still welcome him back. But there are other options to upgrade a porous bullpen, options that would seem to make the odds of a Papebon-Red Sox reunion negligible.