Could Manny be Manny in St. Louis?

Joel KochSenior Analyst IJuly 26, 2008

According to Buster Olney (you'll need ESPN Insider access to see the blog), the Red Sox are fed up with Manny Ramirez. They are tired of his excuses for not playing. Olney thinks that the Cardinals could be a landing place.

Of course, there would be some hinges to any kind of deal. Would the Cardinals be willing to take on Ramirez? Would the Cardinals be willing to take on extra money that could prevent them from adding the left handed help for their bullpen that they desperately need?

Maybe on all counts. Let's look more closely at left handed help. They could potentially add Ramirez and still have the stock left over to land themselves George Sherrill and/or Brian Fuentes (contemplate that, adding both of them). Fuentes has only $1.8 million left on his contract, and of course Sherrill will only be arbitration eligible for the next three seasons.

So, money may not be the problem with Bill DeWallet...err, DeWitt. The problem may be the farm system. According to ESPN's Trade Deadline Blog, that may not be an issue for the Colorado Rockies. The Rockies supposedly like the Cardinals system and they may find a few players that others may not find.

Oh yeah, to land Sherrill, it may also not take a lot. The Orioles got a lot for Bedard, including Sherrill. So they may take an approach of, "To heck with it. Anything we get for him, just adds to the Bedard trade."

Plus, the Cardinals and Orioles could just trade closers straight up. Chris Perez for Sherrill.

Ok, so where's the issue? The issue may just be Option C: all of the above. The Cardinals may not be willing to add on close to $10 million for this season. Add to that that may have to move Perez, and they may not be willing. Perez would come cheaper than Sherrill, and Perez is under the "Future" column for the Cardinals, what they are building for.

So, there are some problems.

Another issue, and probably the biggest one is the trade itself. The Red Sox don't want to give Ramirez away, but they do kind of want him out of town. So, this would make it easy that the Cardinals could get Boston to pickup half or close to half of what is owed to the power hitting outfielder. That would be big, since Ramirez is owed $7 million over the last two months of the season.

It wouldn't take much to pry Ramirez away. Bryan Anderson would work for sure. Jason Varitek is showing his age, plus he's a free agent at the end of the year. Anderson could become their new catcher.

No offense to Dusty Brown or George Kottaras, but Anderson is just better. He's younger (Anderson, 21, compared to Brown, 26, and Kottaras, 25). His hitting will come around as he continues at Class AAA and the Majors, but his defense is getting better.

If the Red Sox were to pick up some of the contract of Ramirez, the Cardinals could add in P.J. Walters (2007 Minor League Pitcher of the Year for St. Louis), Mitch Boggs or Mike Parisi. Of course, Shane Robinson (AAA), Mark Shorey (AA), or Daryl Jones (AA) would be in the deal no matter what.

So, it wouldn't deplete the system as we'd be dealing a trading chip (Anderson) and dealing from two strengths (pitching and outfield).

The bigger hinge on this deal is: could Tony La Russa handle "Manny being Manny"? My guess would be no. It remains to be seen though. La Russa has handled showoffs before (Jose Canseco comes to mind), so you never know.

So, some big obstacles stand in the way. The biggest one: the Red Sox may be saying all of this to motivate Ramirez to play.

Of course, if that isn't the case and the Cardinals would happen to land Ramirez, you could give us the division, even with a crappy bullpen. Imagine this lineup:

2B - Miles
RF - Ludwick
1B - Pujols
LF - Ramirez
CF - Ankiel
3B - Glaus
C - Molina
SS - Izturis

I like it. I'm sure no one will want to pass Pujols with Ramirez batting behind him.

Also to add, the Cardinals aren't stuck with a lot of money at the end of the season. Ramirez has club options for 2009 and 2010. The Cardinals could decline both options, pay him the total $6 or $7 million buyouts and move on. I'd spend $14 million on a two month and postseason rental of Ramirez.


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