NY papers were the first to pick up on the Manny story Wednesday night, and now this morning, Kevin Kiernan has word that the Manny move was an effort to start the first steps in a chain that would bring Alex Rodriguez to the Red Sox. He says with Manny’s salary dumped, the Red Sox would then swing a three-way trade that would send Nomar to the West coast and ARod to the Sox. The Sox would also sign look to sign Bartolo Colon as a free agent. Those would be some blockbuster moves, indeed. If it could be pulled off, I think I might forget my fondness for Manny fairly quickly. Those bold moves would seem to be at odds with what Howard Bryant writes this morning in a pay column, where he says John Henry is vowing to end the era economic excess in baseball salaries.

Oh Manny. We’ll know sometime before 2:00 today if he remains property of the Red Sox. In the meantime, those headline writers continue to drive you nuts. We know Manny doesn’t want to be here. But the headline to Michael Silverman’s article screams: Bronx tale: Agent: Ramirez wants to play for Yankees, inside, the quotes are much softer, and Silverman says:

Ramirez did speak about his fondness for the Yankees in a televised interview this summer, but preliminary research failed to discover consistent and frequent mentions of a lifelong desire to become a Yankee.

Bob Hohler looks at this drama and what the Sox might be trying to accomplish with it all. David Ortiz is quoted extensively in that piece and speaks of Manny’s unhappiness and frequent stated desires to be traded. Ortiz also feels that with the money Manny is making, he should be able to take the heat a little better. Kevin Millar also speaks in that piece. Sean McAdam says that only the Orioles show even a little interest in Ramirez, and even that is a long shot. Dom Amore and David Heuschkel say that the Yankees are not going to help out the Sox in ridding themselves of Manny’s contract. Lenny Megliola says the Red Sox just can’t get out of the headlines. He also says they did not want this to leak out. Gordon Edes looks at the gamble by the Sox, and has Manny’s agent telling Ortiz to mind his own business. Dan Shaughnessy also has to weigh in, and actually it’s not a terrible piece by Dan. (How’s that for a backhanded compliment?) He applauds the move, but doesn’t think Manny is going anywhere. Bill Reynolds says that all of Manny’s positives are outweighed by the negative. Tony Massarotti says the move is all about financial flexibility. No kidding. Kevin Gray says this move gives us a glimpse inside the Red Sox plans for the future. Steve Buckley has a pay column saying if the Sox end up stuck with Manny, they should take off the kid gloves and “treat him like the bad signing that he is”. Michael Gee doesn’t understand the move. That’s his pay column. David Heuschkel looks at a busy offseason coming up for Theo.

Elsewhere, Grady is going to get a look-see from the Orioles. Gordon Edes and Michael Silverman report.

Michael Felger says that Bill Belichick has put a moratorium in his locker room on talk of the Broncos’ cheap cut-blocking techniques. Tom Curran looks at how the Patriots will plan to stop the Bronco offense. Michael Smith notes that one of the trademarks of the Pats this year has been strong play in the first half. Alan Greenberg looks at Danny Kanell, going from coaching high school to starting on Monday Night Football. Michael Parente also looks at Kanell. Joe Haggerty looks at Patriots rookie center Dan Koppen. Eric McHugh looks at the secondary that almost was for the Broncos, which would’ve included Rodney Harrison and Tyrone Poole. Ian M. Clark has a look at Poole. Christopher Price looks at Ken Walter. Smith’s notebook looks at Eugene Wilson’s play at safety. Parente’s notebook has Belichick admiring the Bronco receivers. Felger’s notebook has more from Belichick on Rod Smith. Curran’s notebook has still more Belichick praise for the Broncos.

Get your Celtics links at Fox Sports Net New England.

Bill Griffith catches up with Jerry Remy, who is wary of his name being floated as a managerial candidate.

I ran out of time this morning, and thus no Bruins links. Sorry. Did you really want to read about a 1-0 OT loss anyway?