NEW YORK -- Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon compared former teammate Manny Ramirez to cancer, saying Boston made the right decision when it traded the slugging left fielder to the Los Angeles Dodgers last summer.
"He was on a different train! And you saw what happened with that. We got rid of him, and we moved on without him," Papelbon was quoted in the April issue of Esquire. The story was posted on the magazine's Web site Thursday.
"So Manny was tough for us," Papelbon added. "You have somebody like him, you know at any point in the ballgame, he can dictate the outcome of the game. And for him not to be on the same page as the rest of the team was a killer, man! It just takes one guy to bring an entire team down, and that's exactly what was happening."
"Once we saw that, we weren't afraid to get rid of him. It's like cancer. That's what he was. Cancer. He had to go. It sucked, but that was the only scenario that was going to work. That was it for us. And after, you could feel it in the air in the clubhouse. We got Jason Bay -- Johnny Ballgame, plays the game right, plays through broken knees, runs out every ground ball -- and it was like a breath of fresh air, man! Awesome! No question."
Manager Terry Francona didn't condone Papelbon's remarks, while noting the closer usually says what's on his mind.
"That's Pap's personality," Francona said Thursday in Jupiter, Fla., before the Red Sox played the Cardinals. "The one thing we don't ever want is somebody criticizing their own teammates. They know that."
Francona would have preferred that Papelbon kept his thoughts to himself.
"Pap is pretty open about how he feels about everything," Francona said. "From my point of view, if I ever have something to say to a player, I'll say it to him in my office."
Ramirez was sent to Los Angeles on Aug. 31 as part of a three-team trade in which Boston received Bay from Pittsburgh. Ramirez became a free agent after the season, then agreed last week to a $45 million, two-year deal with the Dodgers.
"As an organization, we do what we think is in the best interests of our ballclub," Francona said. "That's what we did. That's what we'll continue to do. The moves we make, I think that speaks volumes enough."