Deal would trigger Nomar-for-Ordonez

After weeks of talk and speculation about the
proposed trade to send AL MVP Alex Rodriguez to Boston for outfielder Manny Ramirez, Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks is ready for a resolution.

Hicks said Wednesday that no agreement had been reached and that
he has set a deadline of 6 p.m. ET Thursday. If no deal is made by
then, he said Rodriguez will remain with the Rangers.

The Rangers owner said he spoke to Rodriguez on Wednesday.

"I told him, 'I don't know whether tomorrow, I'm going to wish you bon
voyage or welcome back,'" Hicks told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Hicks didn't immediately return a message left by The Associated Press at his office.
Rangers spokesman Gregg Elkin, however, confirmed Hicks' deadline.

Commissioner Bud Selig also had established a Thursday afternoon deadline for a deal or end to the talks.

Meanwhile, if a deal is consummated, the Red Sox have conditionally agreed to trade shortstop Nomar Garciaparra to the White Sox for outfielder Magglio Ordonez, ESPN's Peter Gammons has confirmed.

The Red Sox might also include reliever Scott Williamson as part of the agreed-upon trade of Garciaparra to Chicago, provided the Rodriguez-Ramirez deal is completed. Garciaparra does not have a no-trade clause, so Boston has the right to trade him to any team.

The Dodgers, once thought to be a likely trade destination for Garciaparra, apparently are no longer in the picture. White Sox general manager Kenny Williams wouldn't discuss the agreed-upon deal with Boston.

"I just prefer not to speak to anything. It's business between
clubs. When anybody has something to announce, they'll announce
it," Williams said Wednesday.

Hicks and Red Sox owner John Henry have been discussing a swap
of Rodriguez for Ramirez, the sport's only $20 million men.

Talks have bogged down over the sheer magnitude of the money
involved -- more than $300 million remaining on the two contracts,
including deferred money -- and the Rangers' demand that Boston pay
a big chunk of Ramirez's salary in addition to more than $179
million due Rodriguez.

Boston has balked at paying part of Ramirez's salary. Even without it, the Rangers would already save about $81 million in the deal. Talk has recently focused on whether the Red Sox would include another player in lieu of cash.

"From the Rangers' point of view, we're only going to do
something that makes our team better," Hicks said. "We have no
intention of compromising."

Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein and Rodriguez were meeting
this week with an official from the Players' Association to discuss the deal.

The union would get involved if there was a renegotiation of the
record $252 million, 10-year contract Rodriguez signed three years ago; any change would have to add some benefit for the player, according to baseball's labor contract.

Epstein, Rodriguez, and Rodriguez's agent, Scott Boras, were expected to meet with the union Wednesday for more talks, The Associated Press reported.

Henry hasn't responded to e-mails or calls from AP. But following a series of skeptical postings about the trade on a Red Sox fan Web site, a participant identified as "JohnWHenry" wrote, "Come on now. Don't start to waver on us. It's the holidays. Be of good cheer! It's going to be just a great, exciting season. Hang in there."

The postings came at 4:26 a.m. Henry has confirmed that he uses that screen name for the "Sons of Sam Horn" bulletin board.

The Red Sox did make one deal involving an infielder Tuesday, acquiring Mark Bellhorn from Colorado to replace free agent Todd Walker at second base.

Walker could be part of Texas' contingency plans for replacing Rodriguez. They've talked to Walker's agent about signing him to play second, which would mean moving second baseman Michael Young to shortstop.

The Red Sox have had arguably the busiest offseason, acquiring right-hander Curt Schilling from the Diamondbacks and signing free-agent closer Keith Foulke, who pitched for Oakland last season. Adding Rodriguez and Ordonez would significantly alter a lineup that led the majors in runs scored last season. The Red Sox were painfully close to reaching the World Series, but lost to the Yankees in an 11-inning Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.