January 5, 2006

A Belated Happy New Year!

When it was a straight Manny Ramirez for Miguel Tejada swap, with no contract restructuring, the trade made sense on many levels. I wouldn't necessarily like it, but it could be defended.

Now, with Ramirez possibly demanding his 2009 and 2010 options be picked up and talk of five or six additional players in the mix, it seems like this idea has gotten too complicated and, because the Orioles want some resolution soon, likely will not happen.

According to sources, the Red Sox are offering Ramirez and Matt Clement for Tejada and an outfielder (Baltimore would like to include Luis Matos, while Boston prefers 22-year-old prospect Nick Markakis).

With Jermoy Burnitz signing with Pittsburgh, the Orioles are left with one less outfielder to send to Boston and no left fielder. The Sun says the Birds are "looking for the Red Sox to sweeten the deal" beyond Manny and Clement. The Herald reports today that Baltimore wants Andy Marte in addition to Ramirez and Clement.

A thread on an Orioles message board says a Tejada-Ramirez/Clement trade has been agreed to in principle, but will likely fall apart due to Ramirez's option demands. I like how Orioles fans think the deal is not enough, while I (and others) contend Boston would be giving up too much.

Marte's name also came up in the ongoing talks with Tampa Bay about shortstop Julio Lugo. The Rays would take Marte for Lugo ... mighty white of them.

As 2006 unfolds, Andrew has a detailed recap of 2005.

Finally, here's is a little of what Tony Massarotti wrote in today's Herald about Manny Ramirez:
So let me get this straight: First, Manny Ramirez asks the Red Sox to trade him, continuing one of the great modern traditions in professional sports. Then when the Sox find a deal that might actually make some sense, Ramirez wants his palm greased because he has the right to blow up the deal.

What a country. ... Time to blow the whistle on Manuel Aristides Ramirez, Red Sox followers. This is just going a little too far. ...

Earlier this week, there were whispers that despite wanting out of Boston, Ramirez might exercise his right to veto a trade unless he gets something out of the deal. That translates into an extension of the player's contract through existing options or otherwise, which means Manny wants to be paid if he gets traded.

Can you believe this guy? He takes the Red Sox prisoner and demands a ransom. And even if the Sox meet his request, Ramirez will do in the hostage.
First of all, I love how Mazz moans about "the outrageous world that professional sports has become" -- does he really have 0% knowledge of history or is he playing dumb for his readers?

Second, he's writing as a columnist here; can we trust his writing to be free from obvious bias when he's working as a reporter?


Jack Marshall said...

Redsock...yeah, BUT...surely there is some limit to your willingness to excuse Manny. What TM is saying is that Manny is a jackass. Who can disagree? He wants to leave, fine...say so and stick to it. Or he wants to stay: great! Play hard, stop complaining, and shut up. But this stuff is extortion...forcing the Sox to trade him (or he'll boycott spring training) at a disadvantage, then throwing roadblocks in the way when they have a shot at a deal. Nothing in the current structure of sports FORCES athletes to be self-centered materialistic jerks; some manage to keep their heads screwed on straight. The only reason for someone who has made as much money as Manny to demand more is ego and greed, period...not security, not earthly needs, not his kids, nothing. There really is a limit to how much money one can have and have it make any difference at all. Manny gives zip to charity, which is his choice, but the extra two years will have ZERO impact on his well-being or anyone else's...its only tangible impact is to make it harder for the Sox TO DO WHAT HE SAYS HE WANTS! This loyal employee actually urged Johnny Damon to bolt...nice! That's really giving 100% to the folks who pay his salary; THAT'S paying back the fans for their cheers.
Jerk, jerk, jerk. That's what Mazz is saying.

Donald said...

It'd be easier to deal with Manny if he weren't a jerk who happens to swing a bat very well, wouldn't it?

redsock said...

Jack, I agree with what you are saying, but what is important to remember is that we've yet to hear anything directly from Manny.

There have been contradictory stories about his demand for the option years (the Globe says he didn't ask for that), so that is an open question for me. As for the spring training boycott, his agent has also denied any threat.

So he's apparently being a jerk? So what? He wants more money? There's a rare quality in a human being. ... Seriously, haven't we gotten used to the Manny Show by now?

If you believe the rumors flying around out there -- which no local writer has even hinted at, for some strange reason -- it's likely his wife that is actually pushing him out of town.

If you think Damon paid even .01% to what Manny was saying in making his decision, there's not much I can do. ... "Zip" to charity? Perhaps (and again who cares?), but how would you know?

surely there is some limit to your willingness to excuse Manny

With these numbers? Not bloody likely. ... :>)

Seriously. Look at those stats. He's 9th in slugging ALL-TIME, 10th in OPS ALL-TIME (20th alltime is adjusted OPS+).

He is exactly the kind of guy for whom you put up with a lot of shit. Sorta like Babe Ruth and his career-long nuttiness and head-ache-inducing (for his employers) behavior.

I've said many times I wish Manny would come out and say SOMETHING. One way or the other. It would put an end to a lot of the bullshit. Not all, of course, but a lot of the guessing games in the press and among the fans.

Sean O said...

Well, Redsock, you got your wish, manny said something. Did I want a great prospect package for Manny? Well, yeah, but I'm certainly not upset with his decision to stay.

Manny being Manny. what else can you possibly say.

Jack Marshall said...

Manny now wants to stay. Great, I'm glad; now the team can focus on real rather than imaginary problems. I'm glad he won't be boycotting Spring training, sulking or playimg Terrell Owens. But I don't see how anyone can find, at this point, "Manny being Manny" anything but annoying and destructive. The fact that there are lots of other jerks doesn't excuse him for being a big one; the fact that his prior foolishness prepared us for him being a jerk isn't an excuse either. And the fact that Manny's advice to Damon had no impact on Johnny's dumb decision (Even Damon isn't THAT big an idiot, I agree)doesn't change the fact that it was disloyal and a crappy thing to do. Like Jose Canseco, Jack Clark, Carl Everett and others too numerous to metion, Manny can do no wrong in my eyes with a bat in his hands, but the rest of the time: yechhhhh!

redsock said...

The question is not whether we find Manny "annoying and destructive", but whether his teammates do. That's the relationship that would be harmful to the team, not how the fans feel about him.

And there is little evidence that Ramirez is disliked by his fellow Socks. They may shake their heads at his behavior/statements every so often, but that is a far cry from being destructive to team morale.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock..I don't disagree about that. The "destructiveness" I see is the way Manny's fecklessness takes up time and energy on managements part and prevents the certainty that planning requires. I will always believe that if the Sox hadn't been trying to meet Manny's trade demands without getting robbed, Damon would have received more attention...and may have left anyway; that's not the point. Manny makes it hard to know whether he's going or staying, and he's such a major piece of the puzzle that it skews decision-making, and that IS destructive to the team.

Zenslinger said...

I suppose I am more on Allan's side of things. Manny's a pain but there's no point making it worse than it is.

Not to conflate comments under this entry with the newer one, but I really believe that if you look carefully at Manny's quote, it expresses resignation at staying in Boston, and he’s encouraging himself, childlike, with what some of the advantages are. Things we would like to have had him realize all along without the hullabaloo, yes, but still, he's not saying he didn't want a trade, he's just saying that staying in Boston will be all right.

Manny said he's not coming to spring training? No one even claims that he actually said that (that I know of.) That's just a next step from: he really means it about being traded this time, so...he's going to be angry if it doesn't happen, so...so what's he going to do then? I know! Refuse to come to spring training! Complete fabrication.

Manny gives nothing to charity? A lot of people insist on total anonymity, and especially if they're giving a lot of money, they get it. On the other hand, maybe he doesn't give. I don't think people's frustration at their average salaries should be directed at sports and movie stars who make $20 million a year. Their salaries are on the front page. Talk to your CEOs making that kind of money, there's a lot more of them than there are Mannys, A-Rods, and Tom Cruises, and they don’t advertise. Stars get what the market pays. Hell, what I make is a fortune to someone in the third world, and my weaseling for a pay hike from 50k to 60k a year might annoy them as well.

Did he urge Johnny to leave? I don't really know that; none of us does. If he did, he did it in confidence, and anyway, how can we really say that it was a bad move for Johnny? And even if it wasn't in JD's best interests, what do want Manny for? His brains? In the end it's not really our business what he told him.

As far as being a Sox fan, I certainly don't feel that much affection for Manny. I feel the way most people do: I rejoice when he hits it out but I'm still kind of shaking my head afterwards. Unlike when Ortiz hits it out, when I couldn't be much happier or more excited if he was my own cousin.

With Manny I just have the cold certainty that he cannot be replaced by any number of pretty good starters filling the holes we have. He can only be replaced by Tejada, he of the 150 RBIs. Anything less won't do, including the same value spread across several players. That threat has to be concentrated to maximize Ortiz’s contribution. And if we have to have another half year or year or three years of Manny, so be it. He's distracting but not downright incendiary.

Devine said...

Hey, zenslinger, your response seems mostly level-headed, but I don't know about that bit where most Sox fans shake their head afterwards about Manny. I actually like Manny better than Ortiz (though it's kind of like asking which of your siblings you love more).

I think Manny's a lot more driven and competitive (and less spacy...at least at the plate) than people give him credit for. Does anyone remember his home run at-bat in the final regular season game last year? He was angry at himself as he hit foul ball after foul ball, and you could tell he wanted to smash it in the proper direction. And then he did...straight into center field. His obvious desire (though admittedly it can be on and off) and obvious talent enamour me of him, even if he can (seemingly...according to the press) be such a jerk and space-case are what keep me interested in watching him.

I guess it boils down to really enjoying watching him hit, enjoying when he demonstrates his competitive fire, and enjoying when he smiles like a kid when he does something cool or makes a mistake. I'll take Manny being Manny, though I do tire of all this "Will he stay or will he go?" stuff. But I could read fewer news articles if it was really bothering me.

Jack Marshall said...

1) Manny's agent said that if he wasn't traded he wouldn't report. An "agent" speaks for his principal...the legal and logical presumption is that an agent's words are attributable to the principal, Manny. You can't play that "we don't know he said it" when someone has an agent. Manny is responsible for everything his agent says on Manny's behalf.
2) The point about charity is simply that unlike, say, Pedro, who builds schools in the DR, Manny can't say he "needs" the extra cash for charity work. According to a Globe report, Manny hasn't even funded his foundation's commitments, and it sure ain't because he's strapped for cash.
3) Talk about rationalizations! So because CEOs are greedy and take obscene amounts of money they don't need, hurting their companies, that excuses ballplayers from venal behavior? Absurd. And a raise from $50,000 to $60,000 has MAJOR lifestyle and security advantages compared to any amount over, say, 10 million a year.
4) Im a market guy...I never said Manny "isn't worth" his salary. I said that it is neither admirabale nor smart to demand more money than you can possibly use when it serves to injure your team, and by extension, your team mates. When will someone stand up and say, "You know, there really are more important things than money, especially when you have so much money you don't know what to do with it."
5) Of course, nobody short of Pujols or ARod can replace Manny offensively. But when the team was being forced into a trade, the best offensive Shortstop still PLAYING short seemed like the closest thing to a fair trade.
6) We all know there's something not right with Manny. Personally, I don't find disabilities endearing, only sad, and perhaps inspiring when someone has the discipline to overcome them...not applicable here, that's for sure. How anyone can prefer a case of arrested development over a clutch, classy, mature professional like David Ortiz completely baffles me.

redsock said...

How anyone can prefer a case of arrested development over a clutch, classy, mature professional like David Ortiz completely baffles me.

Let me make this clear:

I love watching Manny hit and hope he stays in Boston until he retires, but I have proposed to David Ortiz. Proposed.

Zenslinger said...

Devine, you’re right that I shouldn’t have blithely spoken for most Sox fans. I guess I was just thinking about the well-documented fact that most of us who get annoyed with Manny tend to forget about our annoyance when he hits it out.

Well, Jack, I still can’t agree with you. But don’t think I’m trying to be a jerk by replying in some detail; it beats talking to Yankee fans..

Spring training: agents say lots of things that players can’t say themselves. “My client won’t settle for less than a 7-year deal” is a remarkable example that no one believed for a second. Obviously said for effect just as surely as Manny’s agent said that, though I haven’t seen a direct quote. Not reporting for spring training would be like dropping a bomb; not even Manny is that Manny.

Money: I think when you make that kind of money, you have a different perspective. Easy for us to say there is a significant lifestyle difference between 50k and 60k, but your $250/year third world fella can’t appreciate that. People in the high range have different goals from the rest of us. I mean, haven’t you heard Chris Rock’s famous quote? “Michael Jordan is rich. The guy that signs his check is wealthy.” There are lots of reasons to work for more and more money when you’re making above $10 mil. Should Stephen King pursue better royalties for his books when he already has a lot of money? Damn right he should; he’s redressing, at least for himself, an inequitable situation in that business. For some, it’s because instead of building an elementary school, they dream of endowing a university. For someone like Manny, or for a lot of players who get lured away from where they should be for another couple of million a year (cough!), it may simply be a point of pride to get what the market will bear.

But the fact is that they’re free to pursue whatever salary they can get and it’s ridiculous, or at least totally against the system in our country, to say that someone has more money than they need or can use. The third world guy thinks that about all of us. I’m not an advocate of extreme capitalism and believe it should be limited in a good left-wing fashion, but it is the engine on which our economy is based.

My point about the CEOs is that there are many more of them making this kind of money, or a LOT more, and no one asks them why they need it. Or tells them that they have more than they could possibly use. It’s not that two wrongs make a right, it’s that this is the way our system works, and if it becomes absurd on the extreme high end, well, it does do something to drive the economy, and no one said it was perfect anyway.

Now, have some of these folks lost perspective? Sure. But Manny does not need to say what he needs the money for. I think the stories about the extra years to his contract are crazy, too. Again, I don’t know how seriously he said that or if he really did. He may have just been running off at the mouth after a conversation with his agent, who’s encouraging him to make hay while the sun shines. It may not have been admirable or smart, but he doesn’t need a reason.

And I promise I won’t take up any more space on this fine blog talking money.

Jack Marshall said...

Z: You're right, this is a tangent: I wish we could take it off-line. I'll be brief (er). 1) The perceptions of a third world pauper aren't relevant. Rich is NOT simply relative...there are realities, like food, health care, retirement and shelter. Somewhere below a mil a year, I'm not sure where, the differences really count. Above 20 mil? All you're doing is taking money away from someone else (who may well not need it either, hence the charity option), concentrating wealth where it does the least good.
2) Nobody criticizes CEOs about this? You gotta read more than the sports page, friend; the escalation of CEO salaries compared to workers is a major issue, economic, political and ethical, and may well be addressed by statute eventually.
3) You nailed Manny's motivation exactly. It's just ego. A stupid reason to make ANY decision, an especially bad reason to screw your team mates and fans. Sure he has a RIGHT; we all have RIGHTS to do all sorts of stupid, mean, greedy, pointless things.
4) You're right: Steven King can and should insist on a fair share of the proceeds of something he creates, no matter how much that is. But there are accurate ways of measuring that. Every measure I've seen shows that a player like Manny will make a 5-8 game difference in a team's W-L record over a season compared to an average player in his spot. Let's call it 8, though I doubt it, and assume Manny splits the profit with the club (which is a lot better deal than Steven King gets): could those 8 games possibly be worth 40 million dollars in 2005? Really?
4) Whether what he or his agent says is crazy, stupid, ridiculous or silly, Manny is responsible for all of it. He may be boob, but he's still an adult and responsibile for his actions. He does not deserve some kind of crazy person dispensation, especially since he has shown the capacity to DO silly, crazy, and stupid things.
You're cutting him wAAAY too much slack, in my opinion.

End of opinions. Nice doing business with you.

redsock said...

zen: damn nice post (esp. about writers fighting for their due!).

glad you took the time to put all that out there.

Devine said...

Jack...it's all fair to say you like David Ortiz better, but it sounds a bit like you're implying I'm a fool for liking Manny better. Which, you know, kind of offends me. I just do. I like to watch him hit.

Jack Marshall said...

No offense intended, devine, and I apologize for implying otherwise. Our likes and dislikes are emotional, and are based on all sorts of ephemeral things. My favorite Red Sox shortstop of all time was Eddie Bressoud...I liked his intensity, the fact that he backed up the pitcher after every throw from the catcher, that he seemed to always get on base in the ninth inning when the Sox were behind and because he had a bizarre swing. Could he carry Nomar's shoes (or Rooster's, or many many others)? No...I just liked him..always will. Brian Daubach; Troy O'Leary; El Guapo...Wake is one of my favorite Sox pitchers ever. So I've got quirky favorites too. But rationally, I recognize that I have no legitimate argument that they are objectively preferable to other, more valuable players. In my opinion, the choice between Ortiz and Manny as far as value to the team goes is similarly clear.

That's all I was saying. Again, sorry for inadvertently insulting you. Careless writing.

Devine said...

That's cool, Jack. Just wanna make sure all we're doing is tactfully disagreeing. Thank you for the words.