Boston Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez was back where he started Friday after going unclaimed on waivers, although his agent said he still hoped for a trade to the New York Yankees.
Not even big-spending Yankees owner George Steinbrenner was willing to pick up the talented but enigmatic Ramirez and his $101 million contract through the waiver process.
New York manager Joe Torre said he had no involvement in the decision to pass on the chance to grab its archrival's best hitter just by paying his salary and he wasn't surprised Ramirez did not change teams.
"This stuff goes on all the time," Torre said Friday. "Even though there are high-price and high-profile people put on waivers all the time, most of the time that club that puts them on waivers understands that with the high price tag they're not going to be picked up."
Any team could have claimed Ramirez and owed the Red Sox nothing. But it appeared no team thought he was worth the $101.5 million remaining on his contract -- the second-richest in baseball.
Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and owner John Henry declined to comment on Ramirez, citing a baseball rule against discussing whether players were put on waivers.
The only comment from the team was that there was no announcement to make, spokesman Kevin Shea said after the 1 p.m. deadline passed. If Ramirez had been claimed, that news could have been released immediately.
"We're looking forward to Manny having another productive year for the Red Sox in 2004," Shea said.
A major-league team executive, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that Ramirez was put on waivers for anyone to claim, but there were no takers.
Calls placed throughout Friday to Ramirez's agent, Jeff Moorad, were not returned. Moorad told WEEI radio in Boston, however, that they would be willing to facilitate a trade, preferably to the Yankees.
"If there was the ability to do a deal with the Yankees, frankly we'd love to see it done and we'd help in any way we could," Moorad told the station before the deadline. "He's always had a desire to play for the New York Yankees."
Moorad said Ramirez understood, however, it might not happen, and that he was committed to fulfilling the final five years of his pact with Boston.