Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers: Blunder or Genius?

Nik SanbornContributor IJuly 31, 2008

I'm going to say one thing first: I am a lifelong Red Sox fan. I am not one of those "fans" who jumped on our boat in 2004 or 2007. I know agony and defeat and I know historically bad trades. I almost cried in July of 2004 when Nomah got traded to the Cubbies for a couple of spare parts.

Orlando Cabrera started his Sox career going 1-fer-20-something at shortstop and Doug Mientkiewicz was just a defensive replacement at first base, the easiest position to play. We were already saying "next ye-ah" when the Yankees went up three games to none in the AL Championship.

We all know how that season ended.

So now, four years later, I'm sitting here wondering if, once again, GM Theo Epstein knows something we don't.

From what has been reported, Manny Ramirez, fan favorite in Boston for his fun loving attitude, has been traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three way trade. Here's the breakdown:

Red Sox send Manny Ramirez to LA and Brandon Moss and Craig Hanson to Pittsburgh.

Pirates send Jason Bay to Boston

LA sends Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris to Pittsburgh.

Looking at this deal, I don't know who got the bigger steal: Pittsburgh getting future stars in Moss and LaRoche, along with two pitchers who will prove serviceable after some development, or LA, who is getting Ramirez, one of the best hitters in baseball, for just a couple of prospects.

Ramirez is clearly the best player in the deal, but the Red Sox still managed to add prospects to the deal without getting anything else in return. Manny may be getting a little long in the tooth, but his ability at the plate has yet to show it. His experience playing The Monster is invaluable to the team and fans are often delighted by seeing his strong, accurate arm throw out a runner trying to stretch a wall shot into a double.

If the Red Sox managed to gain a relief pitcher such as Jason Grabow from Pittsburgh, fans would not be so upset about this deal. Said Eric Burgess of Nashua, NH, "If we got a reliever, I would be satisfied (with the trade)." Our point of weakness all season, another arm in the bullpen would have been enough to satisfy the average fan and bolster another run for the playoffs in a tight race.

Now, with the talented but unfamiliar Jason Bay out in left field, and the loss of one of four players remaining from the 2004 series, true Sox fans are starting to get the feeling that maybe it's time to start saying "next ye-ah" again, two words we're all very familiar with.

But then again, maybe by November Epstein will have proved us wrong, again.