“Manny” Happy Departures for Boston, and for Good Reason

Kevin PaulSenior Analyst IJuly 31, 2008

The love affair is over. The “Manny Show” is road trippin’ to the west coast. In a blockbuster deal at the end of baseball’s trade deadline, Manny Ramirez has been shipped to Los Angeles, while Jason Bay goes to Boston, and four players end up with the Pirates.

Manny Ramirez has finally been traded, and to be honest, this is the best deal Boston could have done. The best. If you don’t think so, then give me a better, but still realistic scenario.

Seriously, think about it for a second. Manny Ramirez - he’s a talent. We all know it. When he hits, he crushes the ball. He hits for average and has power. He hits in the clutch. He hits during the postseason. He’s well on his way to being a member in baseball’s Hall of Fame.

Yes, all of that is nice. Still, what’s painfully more glaring is the fact that Ramirez has the tendency to make himself a clubhouse cancer. He doesn’t run out ground balls. He shows up his opponents by staring down home runs. He plays when he wants to – often sighting injuries. He fumbles and stumbles his way after fly balls. Worst of all, he complains – about his contract, about his teammates, about his team’s front office.

And that my friends, is why “Manny being Manny” wore out in Boston years ago. Yes, years ago. Sure, with every home run, the annoyances and frustrations subsided. Yet, with every additional complaint, it all resurrected – and believe me, those complaints were there more often than not.

So this is it Boston, Manny is gone - headed to Tinseltown to play for Joe Torre and the Dodgers. How do you feel? Do you have a hangover worse than Paris Hilton on a Sunday morning? Or maybe you feel nothing but relief? Being out and about during tonight’s announcement, this writer felt the buzz and heard some of the comments – most notably the pre-trade line where an associate said “I hope he’s traded for a bag of dirty baseballs”.

But enough about Manny, let’s talk about the trade. What a victory for the Red Sox. You lose the team’s attitude, but replace him with Jason Bay, a guy who puts up similar numbers in a full season. Don’t believe me? Let’s dive deeper:

Manny Ramirez – 36 yrs old – 2008 Salary: 20 million
2006 – 130 G – 35 HR, 102 RBI, .321 avg.
2007 – 133 G – 20 HR, 88 RBI, .296 avg.
2008 – 100 G – 20 HR, 68 RBI, .299 avg.

Jason Bay – 29 yrs. old – 2008 Salary: 6 million
2006 – 159 G – 35 HR, 109 RBI, .286 avg.
2007 – 145 G – 21 HR, 84 RBI, .247 avg.
2008 – 106 G – 22 HR, 64 RBI, .282 avg.

A few quick points (about the above numbers) should be made before moving on. Bay fought off an injury in 2007, and while his average was down, he still managed 21 home runs. Also, while overall Ramirez’s numbers are a little better, Bay’s salary is only six million, and he’s seven years younger.

Most importantly, Bay has been putting up these numbers in Pittsburgh’s park, with a roster of Pirates protecting him. Imagine this talent with Boston’s lineup protection at Fenway Park half of the season? Bay could easily improve, and should for that matter.

What does Boston give up? Craig Hansen, once a gem of a prospect in the organization, meant little in the eyes of Boston fans this season. He throws gas, yes - but he’s also wild. In 2008, Hansen has posted an ERA of 5.58, while striking out 25 and walking 23 over 30 2/3 innings.

Brandon Moss, the other Red Sox casualty, was also nothing more than a utility player in Boston. In 78 AB’s, Moss managed two HR and 11 RBI, while batting .295 as a member of the Red Sox. All in all, this trade is a major victory for the Red Sox.

Heck, it’s a victory for all teams. The Dodgers are stuck in the middle of a tight NL West division race, where an experienced veteran bat was desperately needed. The Red Sox desperately needed to move Manny, especially after all of his most recent antics. Finally, there are the Pirates, who as always, needed to move a pricey talent (by their standards), in hopes to get younger and better.

It’s a good deal for all, especially in Boston, where Manny can be Manny somewhere else. No more disappearing acts into the Green Monster. No more dreads flapping in the breeze. No more walk-off homers that don’t include any walking away from the plate.

Yes, the media may be sad to see the “Manny train” headed west, but the Red Sox fans shouldn’t be. Toss those Manny thoughts into the Boston Harbor and welcome Jason Bay with open arms. Give Bay a few weeks, and he’ll likely flood Boston with reasons for Red Sox Nation to love him.


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