Thursday, July 31, 2008

Marlin Trade for Manny IN The Works

The prospect of Manny Ramirez becoming a Marlin remains a real possibility.
A source on Thursday morning confirmed that talks continue for a possible three-team trade that would send Ramirez to the Marlins.

Under the scenario, Ramirez would become a Marlin for the final two months of the season. Florida outfielder Jeremy Hermida would head to the Pirates, and the Red Sox would acquire left fielder Jason Bay from Pittsburgh.

The Marlins may also have to part with pitching prospect Ryan Tucker, and according to reports, 19-year-old outfield prospect Mike Stanton -- a second-round pick in 2007 with tremendous power -- may also be part of the package.

The heavy trade rumblings came on Wednesday, a day on which the Marlin beat the Mets, 7-5, to move within a game and a half of first place in the NL East.

Asked about the rumors after going 2-for-4 in what might have been Hermida's final game as a Marlin, the 24-year-old said: "It's out of my control. If something happens, there is nothing I can do about it."

The non-waiver Trade Deadline is 4 p.m. ET on Thursday. Speculation is strong that it's a matter of the Commissioner's Office approving the deal because of the amount of money that may change hands, as Boston has reportedly offered to pay the balance of Ramirez's salary this season.

Once those details are in place, the Red Sox are then expected to officially ask Ramirez if he will waive his no-trade clause.

If the deal is pulled off, the Marlins would be parting with Hermida, their first-round Draft pick in 2002, who broke into the big leagues in '05. The left-handed-hitting right fielder made history in his first at-bat, by connecting on a pinch-hit grand slam.

Making $395,000, Hermida is in his third season with the Marlins, and he is in line for arbitration after this year.

"I've come up in this organization. It's the only staff that I've known," Hermida said. "A lot of guys in this clubhouse I've known for a lot of years. Definitely, it would be tough to leave these guys who I've grown up with."

Should Ramirez become a Marlin, it would be as a two-month rental. According to sources, Florida has no intention of picking up Ramirez's $20 million option for 2009.

Because their payroll is $22 million, the fact the Marlins even pursued Ramirez is startling to many, considering their cost-cutting history. But the team is in the thick of the playoff race, and there is a push to get a new stadium built. Right now, the status of the new stadium is hung up in a lawsuit.

Ramirez brings star power to the Marlins, along with a powerful bat. However, he does have his share of baggage, as he seems to be on the verge of leaving Boston disgruntled with the organization with which he won two World Series titles.

Along with Hermida, Marlins left fielder Josh Willingham heard his name attached to the trade rumors involving Ramirez.

Willingham is the current left fielder, and it is unclear if he also may be part of a deal on Thursday.

"I hadn't heard anything about myself until today," Willingham said. "I'm sitting there and watching and you see yourself, and it's like, 'Whoa.' "

Reminded that the game is a business, Willingham added: "That's how you have to treat it. This is the only organization that I know. Until something happens, we'll cross that bridge when we get there."

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