Angels react to Ramirez trade

Angels react to Ramirez trade

NEW YORK -- Stretched out in front of the big-screen television in the visitors' clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on Thursday afternoon, a group of Angels looked and acted liked wide-eyed kids with their bubblegum cards laid out in front of them.

On the screen came a news flash about Manny Ramirez moving to the Dodgers from the Red Sox. This was before the other parties involved -- Jason Bay leaving Pittsburgh for Boston and four young athletes headed for the Steel City -- became known.

"Do you think the Dodgers are giving up Matt Kemp?" asked Howie Kendrick. "You have to give up something to get Manny, don't you? Kemp is young, but he's got a lot of talent."

The speculation continued until the other names were revealed, at which time the general reaction was disbelief that it didn't take more merchandise than third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitching prospect Bryan Morris from the Dodgers' end to acquire Ramirez.

Chone Figgins was surprised that the Red Sox didn't let the smoke clear and try to work things out with Ramirez.

"He must have really upset somebody," Figgins, the Angels' leadoff catalyst, said. "There aren't many hitters like Manny."

Fans now, the players debated among themselves who won, who lost and what impact the blockbuster would have. One of the American League's greatest players was moving to the National League, and that seemed to be the bottom line -- the Dodgers are a lot better than they were on Wednesday.

"My man David Ortiz is going to miss Manny, that's for sure," said Torii Hunter, who played alongside Ortiz in Minnesota before Ortiz became the celebrated "Big Papi" of Red Sox fame. "Those two worked together, man. Now it's just David."

One player was convinced that Ramirez was bound and determined to come home to New York, his heart was set on playing for the Yankees next year -- and hammering the Sox. Another refuted that, claiming he'd heard that the combustible slugger wanted out of the spotlight and would take significantly less money to remain with the Dodgers. It was the Angels, this player added, Ramirez wanted to play for all along.

Seated in the dugout a while later, his mind focused on the business at hand with the Yankees, manager Mike Scioscia at first acted as though he didn't know about the deal. When the particulars were put in front of him, he responded with his usual statesmanlike diplomacy.

"Pittsburgh got a lot for Bay," Scioscia said of LaRoche, Morris, Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen. "Bay's a good player, but they got four good players for him. It's interesting, the way things worked out."

Moss and Hansen came from Boston, meaning the Sox gave up Ramirez and two players for Bay.

Fixtures on two World Series championship teams, Ortiz and Ramirez have given the Angels fits in the No. 3-4 spots in the Boston order. They were notably destructive in the AL Division Series last October, when they outproduced the entire Angels offense in a three-game sweep.

"Manny's a guy who definitely has hurt us and was one of a one-two tandem that was one of the best ever in the game, with David Ortiz," Scioscia said. "I think they'll probably spread some things out in their lineup. It remains to be seen what's going to happen in their offense, maybe some situational things.

"It's a big pillar to get out of their lineup."

Asked if Ramirez is the best pure hitter in the game, Scioscia mentioned Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees as "pretty special."

As for Boston's new left fielder, Scioscia said, "Jason Bay's got as much power as anybody in the game. We'll see how things work out."

Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.