The deal that had to be done 

July, 31, 2008
07/31/08
8:53
PM ET
The text message from Alex Cora came not long after the deal was done. "I am very sad," wrote Cora, one of the game's best and brightest people. "I am happy for him because he wanted it, but he is a great guy. He taught me a lot. I will miss him."

That is what's so sad about the way the Red Sox had to spend $7 million, and trade two very good young players named Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen, to be able to trade Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers so they could get Jason Bay from the Pirates. But the way the past month had gone, there was no chance -- none, zilch, nada -- that Boston could make the playoffs with Ramirez on the team. In his mind, he had completed his obligation for the guaranteed $168 million the Red Sox paid him, and he was waiting to go on the market and collect the $100 million over the next four seasons he believes he is going to get, which would pay him through the age of 40.

He insulted ownership and everyone in authority, and one player who really cares for Ramirez said he knew Ramirez could sit the last two months, collect his final $7 million and ride off into the $100 million sunset. The Red Sox knew that, as well. They already had threatened him with an unpaid suspension, but in a world in which the union fights for those who don't work, the last two months were going to be a living hell of sit-down strikes, followed by suspensions. It would have been a half-season of what the past two weeks have been, namely a choke hold on the team's baseball culture.

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