(Un)Fair Assumption

Mike RCorrespondent IJuly 28, 2008

While taking full advantage of a rare occasion in Iowa (a televised Red Sox game during the same time slot as the Cubs), I heard the newly-proclaimed "baseball guru" Joe Buck and crew infer that Manny was basically a lazy quitter. I don't really understand where Buck, or anyone, gets off saying this. And yes, that includes Red Sox management.

Does Manny have some issues? ("Manny being Manny": pushing down traveling secretaries, fielding calls in the Monster, etc.) Sure.

Is there a trade that both sides would agree to that would return equal value right away for Manny? (Matt Holiday—are you kidding me? Without the aid of Rocky Mountain air? Nah—his splits are way too drastic.) Not in reality.

Let me be clear, I'm not completely against moving Manny and his antics away, especially since Theo made his pro-trade thoughts clear on the matter. But I also agree with ESPN's take on the possible trade: nobody has anything that they will willingly give up (that has Manny's impact) in a trade.

Manny is a game changer. With the game on the line (or series for that matter), when it really matters (October, for instance), Manny comes up huge. He (with the aid of a great team) has brought two rings to a city that hadn't tasted October glory for 86 years.

You could argue, as I did parenthetically in the last sentence, that he has been surrounded by talent, but Ortiz would also remind anyone that the reason he sees the pitches that he sees in games is because No. 24 is batting fourth to his third.

This dynamic duo has accounted for some great October drama, and it has been argued that there is no more powerful a punch in the American League, let alone the Majors (as if the NL would possess a duo in the top five).

I suppose the question now isn't if but when Manny will depart from Boston, but the question should also be raised that when he does depart, who will fill the four (and possibly the three—Ortiz and Manny are tighter than Manny's dreads) spot(s)?