In a column for Newsday, David Lennon details how former major leaguer and current Cubs batting instructor Manny Ramirez nearly came to the Mets in a trade. In 2005, then-GM of the Mets Omar Minaya came “within a few hours” of securing Ramirez in a trade with the Red Sox.
The Mets tried to get the Rays involved as a third team in a deal, but they backed out when they realized they wouldn’t be able to get then-prospect Hanley Ramirez from the Red Sox. In the final hours, Lennon details, the Mets thought they had cinched a deal which would have sent Lastings Milledge and Mike Cameron to Boston, but talks fell apart hours ahead of the 4 PM EST deadline on July 31.
Jim Duquette, Minaya’s VP of baseball operations in 2005, said of the negotiations:
“We weren’t able to match up and give them enough,” Duquette said. “They were looking for more younger players in return. We wanted them to give more money. We weren’t going to take the full freight on that one. I don’t think they thought Milledge was the right guy. That’s why we were trying to bring in a third team.”
Ramirez ultimately stayed in Boston for another few seasons until he was traded to the Dodgers in a three-team trade also involving the Pirates at the trade deadline in 2008.
It’s interesting to think how different things might have been if Ramirez had gone to the Mets in 2005.