The tumultuous yet highly successful Manny Ramirez era in Boston appears has ended. A potential trade broke down that would have sent him to Florida for a two month rental to could help the team to a surprising playoff berth and stimulate talks for a new stadium. Instead, Manny is headed to the Dodgers, with Jason Bay going to Boston, and a bunch of prospects going to Pittsburgh.
The Dodgers are more likely than many teams to exercise his $20 million team option for 2009, but the salary may be too much for just one season, and Manny probably wants an extension. Why give him another unhappy year with contract disputes?
As one of the top free agents this offseason, what uniform might he be wearing next season? Now that it appears Manny Ramirez will be traded to the Florida Marlins for a two month rental, we know his 2009 team option will not be exercised, and he probably will not be wearing a Red Sox uniform next season.
Leading the pack of potential suitors is the New York Mets. Seeing him in orange and blue just makes too much sense. He is from the New York area, has repeatedly said he wants to play in New York, he always plays even better than usual in the city. Furthermore, the Mets are one of few teams who would pay Manny the kind of money he would want, and also have an opening in left field. Lastly, their General Manager, Omar Minaya, has shown a penchant for Hispanic players past their prime.
Manny would be another huge name to bring to New York to attract fans to brand new CitiField. Manny would be motivated to show off his capabilities, and a motivated Manny is a productive Manny.
The ramifications would be huge. The Mets would once again try to steal the spotlight from their crosstown rivals andmay even succeed, albeit temporarily. Defense would suffer and Manny's bat may be declining, so the contract would probably be like the one given to Pedro Martinez, an albatross in exchange for an entertainer. However, if his natural talent and newfound motivation can provide a boost for the Mets, the contract would be a steal.
Boston may soon face an enormous backlash from fans. The Red Sox already traded away much of their farm system for the failed Eric Gagne experiment, and just traded away some more prospects for the right to swap Manny for Bay. Their young stars have not performed up to expectations. Jacoby Ellsbury looks more like Wily Taveras than Ty Cobb. Their older players are not aging gracefully, either. Curt Schilling's career may be over, and David Ortiz has seen better days. Without Manny, Boston would lose their last remaining source of amusing quotes and stories. Without character, Boston is just another faceless team. Red Sox Nation is dead.