Show me the Manny
Ramirez, Red Sox agree on eight-year, $160 million deal
Updated: Wednesday December 13, 2000 12:17 AM
BOSTON (AP) -- Pedro Martinez isn't just the best pitcher in baseball. He's also a pretty good recruiter.
The Red Sox ace helped his team add some punch to the lineup by helping persuade outfielder Manny Ramirez to come to Boston. The former Indians slugger is expected to be introduced to his new fans on Wednesday after signing an eight-year, $160 million deal with the Red Sox.
"I'm good friends with Pedro," Ramirez told Boston station WHDH-TV after arriving at Logan International Airport on Tuesday. "Here in Boston we have a good chance to get the ring."
Ramirez spent three hours Tuesday at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester taking a physical. He was accompanied by Dr. Arthur Pappas, Red Sox doctor Bill Morgan and team trainer Jim Rowe.
Ramirez signed a few autographs when he arrived, but did not comment. The Red Sox have declined to comment on the deal.
Ramirez turned down a similar offer from Cleveland, where he has played his entire career. Indians officials said the deal would also have paid Ramirez $160 million, though more of the money was deferred, so it was worth substantially less.
"Yesterday was a roller-coaster day as we evaluated offers from Boston and Cleveland," said his agent, Jeff Moorad. "Manny had two great choices."
Moorad said about 20 people from the Indians' organization had tried to convince Ramirez to stay, including manager Charlie Manuel and teammates Kenny Lofton, Jim Thome, Travis Fryman and Dave Burba. Ramirez also spoke with the video crew and the clubhouse attendant, whom he tried to persuade to move to the Red Sox with him.
Cleveland officials said they were shocked at the loss of their star.
"It's been a broad range of emotions today," Indians assistant general manager Mark Shapiro said. "We basically took every amount of revenue and resource, and the (owners) said, "Make your best effort without jeopardizing what we can do in the future for the entire team.'"
Shapiro said the Indians, who signed Ellis Burks early in the offseason in case they couldn't bring Ramirez back, would now focus on adding another bat to their lineup.
Ramirez, 28, hit .351 last season with 38 homers and 122 RBIs in 439 at-bats. He missed 44 games with a hamstring injury, but still led the league in slugging percentage and was third in on-base average.
After returning from the DL, Ramirez, a .313 career hitter, batted .371 with 25 homers and 75 RBIs in his final 71 games. In the last three years, only Sammy Sosa (437) has driven in more runs than Ramirez's 432.
His signing by the Red Sox should only spice up their rivalry with the Indians. The teams have met in the postseason three times since 1995, with the Red Sox rallying from a 2-0 deficit to win the '99 division series in five games.
There is also bad blood between the clubs stemming from pitcher Pedro Martinez's dominance of the Indians. Last season, Martinez hit Indians second baseman Roberto Alomar with a pitch, touching off a bench-clearing scene that resulted in Martinez being suspended for five games.
Ramirez is a lifetime .278 hitter with 16 RBIs in 37 games at Fenway Park, his lowest numbers in any AL park. He was 0-for-8 at Fenway in the 1999 AL playoffs and 1-for-18 in the series against Boston.
He also has five homers and a .444 slugging percentage at Fenway -- far lower than his .605 at Jacobs Field.
Drafted by the Indians in the 1991 draft, Ramirez set a franchise record in 1999 with 165 RBIs -- the most in the majors since Jimmie Foxx in 1938.
He was wildly popular with Indians fans, who embraced his quirkiness off the field and forgave his occasional mental lapses on it because of his mind-boggling offensive numbers.
He finished his career with Cleveland by homering in his final at-bat at Jacobs Field last season against Toronto.