August 1, 2008

SOME CANCERS ARE OPERABLE:

Sox pay a heavy price to trade Manny, get Bay (Sean McAdam, August 1, 2008, Providence Journal)

General manager Theo Epstein was working with a mandate from within his own clubhouse. After his team’s dispiriting loss to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Wednesday night, Epstein met with a handful of Red Sox veterans, all of whom delivered the same message: Manny had to go.

If his antics weren’t directly responsible for the team’s slide — the Sox have lost five of six on the current homestand, their worst stretch of play at Fenway all season — they were certainly serving as a distraction.

Worse, the players feared that if Ramirez remained with the Sox for the rest of the season, he couldn’t be counted upon in the middle of a pennant race. In their minds, there were no guarantees that Ramirez wouldn’t engage in further petulant displays that could sidetrack the team’s playoff push.

In the past, teammates had advised against just such a deal, reminding management that, whatever his faults, Ramirez’s skills as a run producer were too valuable.

But in the last week or so, Ramirez lost the clubhouse and the equation was turned on its head: No matter how good he was as a hitter, it wasn’t enough to outweigh the negatives.

Teammates were tired of answering questions about him, tired of rationalizing his selfish behavior, and frankly, tired of him.

Armed with that knowledge, Epstein set out to make a trade — any trade.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 1, 2008 12:51 PM

I can't decide if this trade will help the Dodgers or not. Ramirez might help take some pressure off Andruw Jones, but he might also shakedown an always fragile clubhouse in LA.

Posted by: Brandon at August 1, 2008 1:22 PM

It's funny that Captain Facemask was likely in the vanguard of the Sawx veteran leadership that tossed Manny overboard, given that the Sawx would be much better off if they dfa'd Tek, and traded Hansen et al for Pudge, while keeping Manny.

The Sawx front office people, btw, should be running the White House media operation. Very Clintonista. Amazing how they sent Gammons et al out there to completely trash Manny for basically doing the same thing he's done every single year of his tenure at Boston. Gammons was in a sputtering rage around the clock on (N)ESPN complaining about Manny's act -- the same act he'd chuckled over for years, and even only a few weeks ago had laughed about. Of course folks like McAdams are also on the payroll.

But then, that's that classy Sawx organization. They've trashed the character of virtually every major star they've tossed overboard from Dewey and Fisk, to Clemens and Mo Vaugh, to Nomar and now Manny. Who's next? Probably Tek and then Papi, whose career trajectory has Mo Vaughn written all over it. It'll be hilarious when the Nation turns on Papi once the Sawx media ops begin trashing him too.

At the end of the day, this had nothing to do with Manny in the clubhouse, or this season. It had to do with the fact the front office wasn't going to pick up Manny's option, and wanted to get something for him. Sad that to do that they felt that they had to trash the player who, more than anyone else, brought them their 2 championships.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at August 1, 2008 2:01 PM

He's not Manny. But, he's young and pretty darn good:

http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/stats/players/index.php?lastName=bay

Posted by: Benny at August 1, 2008 2:13 PM

That BB/k ratio has to go way up though...

Posted by: Benny at August 1, 2008 2:17 PM

That BB/K talk was just silly.

At 1/3 the price of Manny, Bay is just great. Their numbers this year are similar and Bay will be in a much better lineup...

Great deal for Boston.

Posted by: Benny at August 1, 2008 2:59 PM

Benny, it should work out well for Boston, if only b/c Bay is signed through next year.

It's also worth pointing out that Hansen is an awful pitcher and Moss was unlikely to ever develop into a starting corner outfielder for a championship team.

And thankfully now we won't have to hear the desperate excuses of Sawx nation for why Hansen stinks -- his agent changed his mechanics; he had sleep apnea; his mom didn't breastfeed him, etc.

However, it's should be noted that the Sawx are picking up the 7 mil owed Manny this year. So Bay's really not 1/3 the price of Manny.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at August 1, 2008 3:25 PM

The Tigers pitching staff tossed Pudge out.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 4:09 PM

In order for it to help the Dodgers they'd need to play him at 3b or ss.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 4:10 PM

Good grief. The Dodgers lineup is horrific. Ramirez is a massive improvement over anything they've got. One wonders how Torre, who was a major cause of the poisonous Yankee clubhouse, can possibly deal with him though.

The notion that Jason Bay is "young" is hilarious, given that he turns 30 next week. He stands to improve given that he's going from a pitcher-friendly to a hitter-friendly park (Ramirez is going in an even more extreme opposite direction).

Posted by: b at August 1, 2008 4:46 PM

b:

I think Bay will be good, but let's not forget that he's also going from the NL to the AL, from AAAA to the majors i.e.

To get a sense of the gulf between the leagues, look at what Yankee castoff Karstens did for the Pirates this afternoon to the best team in the NL.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at August 1, 2008 4:54 PM

Heard Bay got a standing o at Fenway tonight. Overheard at another blog as explanation:

"White guy in Boston taking the place of an uncontrollable hispanic? Yeah, you do the math."

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at August 1, 2008 7:29 PM

He got a bigger one when he made a catch Manny would have let roll to the wall. He's a better player at this point in Manny's career.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 8:32 PM

Could well be.

But there is that jump from AAAA to the majors . . .

Also, I've heard Bay's a pretty poor fielder too. Supposedly he can get to balls better than Manny, but has a worse arm, which might even things out.

He should be a decent enough 1 1/3 year rental. Doubt he's good enough for Boston to resign though.

Posted by: JIim in Chicago at August 1, 2008 9:13 PM

White 30 year olds are already past their prime. He's just keeping a spot warm for the more talented guys in the Sox system.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 10:29 PM

what is curious is that when you look at what teams are asking for from the red sox in trades, and then what they end up taking from other teams is almost every time less then what they demanded from theo. further curious is that red sox keep giving up players that yield results -- ie david murphy. when do bosox get to take advantage of the reverse leverage when the other teams start to realize that what the sox have to offer is always better then what it seems....? ive been waiting for this to occur for two years.

manny -- he pouted and behaved his way out of boston -- and got his way. but he overplayed his hand. if no one was willing to take him for two months for -- practically -- for free -- what makes he and boras think he can do even close to what he had at boston - 2 years -- 40mm. his skills obviously eroding. he went and trained at that arizona institute over winter. he started off nice and strong, but then realized the mean quickly -- and in all ways. he started off year strong physically and, even moreso, came across as a completely new manny -- talking to media -- friendly, all that -- and then the reversion to mean was slow and then -- ALL AT ONCE. law of averages.

here's the thing, imo, his ability to change game with his physical presence and past reputation had wind -- but wind would have quickly reverted to mean -- as well. so that argument loses steam. and the past decisions to keep manny and work through the bs was eventually going to tip in the other favor. better to cash your chips in too early than too late. sox did just that -- they prob are better team now with manny for last two months than with bay -- but that's just a maybe -- manny was blowing up and in a big way and blowing up the team with him -- and, for sure, next year and forward -- sox a better team with bay versus manny. so cold calculation is pure and simple math that i believe works in sox favor.

further, orrin absolutely right, we need 1-2 years to warm up our farm batters, they will be a monsoon. think what we did thus far in pitching, will be all of a sudden and at once with offensive prospects -- theo's got it going on. while we all thought his trick was in pitching he's been slowly and secretly working the offense.

think further, baseball gms caught on to best gm's strategy, work the farm pitching, and work it hard, don't trade it, keep it, nurture it, it's the reason why you win.....so yeah everyone catches on to that, and while all that going on theo is ahead of the curve and building his niche in offensive prospects.....

the grand master bosox plan is in 2nd stage. he's past billy beane, cuz beane can only trade away his best stuff when they reach prime while sox can nurture and keep and trade and pay for the prime.

move -- big picture and small -- a positive!

Posted by: neil at August 2, 2008 9:25 AM

The system is so deep there was no future here for murphy or moss

Posted by: oj at August 2, 2008 1:55 PM

Don't know how he will turn out for the Sawx but he's got to be a better overall fielder than Manny Ramirez. How could he possibly be any worse? And he basically won them the game last night, in the 12th. [Muttered expletives...]

Posted by: Matt Murphy at August 2, 2008 8:00 PM

Bay was an above average fielder until last year when he couldn't hit either.

Posted by: oj at August 2, 2008 11:23 PM
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