Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Red Sox were desperate to get rid of Manny Ramirez.

It's the only explanation. Think about it. This is what the Sox gave up to get Jason Bay from the Pirates and send Manny to the Dodgers:

- Manny Ramirez
- Craig Hansen
- Brandon Moss
- 2 draft picks (which they would have received in compensation if they had declined Manny's option and he became a free agent. The Dodgers will get those picks instead if they don't sign Manny.)
- $7 million to pay Manny's salary for the rest of the season.

That's a high price, but I think Theo and the Sox ownership felt they had to pay it. Manny's antics had simply become too much and were doubtless having a negative effect on the rest of the team. This may be a case of addition by subtraction, much like the Nomar trade in 2004.

Jason Bay is no Manny Ramirez, but he's not a stiff, either (.282, 22 HR, 64 RBI). He's certainly a defensive upgrade over Manny (who isn't?), and his offensive numbers this year are comparable to Manny's.

I'm hoping that the elimination of Manny's distraction will re-energize this team. As discussed here a couple of days ago, the Angels upgraded their offense with the Mark Teixeira trade. The Yankees filled some weak spots by adding Xavier Nady, Damaso Marte and Pudge Rodriguez. Chicago, leading the AL Central, brought Junior Griffey over from Cincinnati. The Red Sox, at best, stayed even by exchanging Bay for Manny. Making the playoffs is not going to be a cakewalk, and the Sox will be facing some very good teams if they get there.

All that said, I'm going to miss Manny. Until the last week or so, his antics were generally amusing and harmless. He's a sublime hitter, who made you stop in your tracks for every at bat. And I want to be on hand for his speech when he is inducted into the Hall of Fame.

So, thanks Manny, for the two World Series championship and all the thrills and laughs.


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