November 27, 2006

Manny Gone By Saturday?

Buster Olney, who had the scoop on the Red Sox's winning bid for Daisuke Matsuzaka, writes that the Red Sox are "aggressively shopping" Manny Ramirez.

"I wouldn't be shocked if the Red Sox traded him by Saturday," says one league official -- after signing JD Drew.

Olney says the Giants, Padres, Dodgers, and Rangers are talking seriously with Boston.
Executives with other teams say that in order to move Ramirez, Boston will have to come to grips with the idea that they will not get back major league talent equal to that of Ramirez; rather, they might have to settle for a deal much like the Gary Sheffield trade the Yankees made early in November, when they got three pitching prospects from Detroit. ... [T]he recent salary explosion -- Alfonso Soriano's $136 million deal, Carlos Lee's $100 million contract -- has cast Ramirez and his [high and possibly previously untradeable] salary in a different light.
Obviously the front office on Yawkey Way knows more about the Manny situation than I do, but with Boston's trade demands dropping, and obvious need for Manny's bat, I don't see getting rid of Manny as a good move from any perspective. And if recent contracts make his salary more of a bargain, shouldn't that also work in Boston's favour to keep him?

Could the Red Sox make the playoffs in 2007 with improved pitching (some bullpen help might come in a Manny deal), Lugo and Drew replacing Manny and Gonzo, and a more normal set of player injuries? Maybe, but it's no sure thing.

One scout says David Ortiz "will draw about 200 walks next year without Manny hitting behind him. I don't care who it is who bats fourth instead of Manny -- JD Drew, or Wily Mo Pena, whoever -- he won't be as dangerous as Manny was, because Manny can hit good pitching."

The cynic in me -- not having figured out if the probable replacements parts could produce an aggregate benefit -- says the team is punting for 2007 and getting set for a strong 2008 (they may get some "almost ready" prospects for Ramirez). ... Perhaps the front office strongly suspects that Manny will miss big chunks of playing time in 2007 and 2008.

Too many questions at this point.

P.S. Don't forget to VOTE.


Jack Marshall said...

It does make sense, which is why the Red Sox will trade him. There must also be some kind of maximun number of trade demands a player can make without the team saying, "Oh, the hell with it! Bye!" Whatever it is, Manny passed it years ago.

I don't want the Manny stuff to get ugly, but I think it will happen next year if he stays. Tito's job may be on the line, and the Sox, who will NOT punt 2007---not with Schilling in his last year, not with Dice---will have less tolerance for Manny's moments.I HOPE they walk David Ortiz 200's an insane strategy that will give the Sox more runs than it saves.

And let's not go overboard: teams have won exactly one World Series with Manny Ramirez; all the others have been won by teams without him. If the Sox add significant offense in right and short and get a good offensive player in left, the offense will be plenty good enough to go all the way. I'll wait to see who the Sox get in a trade before I'll condemn it or praise it. But at this point, if they get value, I can't blame then for making a deal.

L-girl said...

It does make sense, which is why the Red Sox will trade him.

That's true, because everything the front office does makes sense.

Except the stuff Jack doesn't agree with.

I think when we say goodbye to Manny, we can say goodbye to our Tiz hitting 50 HRs. He'll see one good pitch a game if we're lucky.

Woti-woti said...

Let me get this straight. The Sox couldn't give him away on waivers a few years ago because of his contract. Allegedly, they next tried to trade him, but could never get close to his value. Now, in this crazy, over-heated market, the next 2 years of his contract are considered a 'bargain'. So now people think the Sox are going to get equal value in return? Or the value doesn't matter because the FO is sick of him? Is everybody nuts?? Does he still have knee issues? Or did he fake the whole thing? Or is it all mental? Then who's going to take him, unless it's for next to nothing? Again,is everybody nuts? We don't even know whether the reason for Manny's alleged request may simply be his and his agent's way of leveraging somebody to pick up his option years. Is it hardball? Yep. Is Manny really happy in Boston? Who the fuck knows? Gordon Edes? Tony Mazzarotti? Anyway, Manny is paid to play ball--if he is healthy. Anybody ever heard Manny say he didn't understand this?
Way too much speculation at this point, but based on what we do know--for chrissakes--keep Manny.
And Jack, the Sox only won one WS with Manny? They didn't win anything with Ted Williams. Just what is your point?

redsock said...

I'll wait to see who the Sox get in a trade before I'll condemn it or praise it. But at this point, if they get value, I can't blame then for making a deal.

I agree with this. If they get value ... sure.

SoSHers talking up LA as a good fit for Manny -- and for a dumb FO that might send a couple of top prospects our way. (Though I think Manny has said he wants to stay in the AL, and he does have 10-5 rights.)

Jere said...

L-Girl, no qualm with the use of the term "punting"?:)

9casey said...

I love Manny even with all his quirks....

If you trade him for prospects and no real major league talent ...that's crazy...

I assume they trade him for prospects then they are almost backed up against a wall to sign Trot,right.

And JD Drew who averages 125 games a year and 27 hr's and 86 rbi's is the poor man's Manny, Christ he is not even that...

Not for nothin, Jack, Manny has played in 3 world Series and Barry Bonds has played in 1....

I will take my chances with Manny, pissed of or not...

Jack Marshall said...

Boy, subtlety is lost on you guys. Too much turkey?

My point is that it's silly to act like it's the end of the world and the Sox can't win without Manny Ramirez, which is what Redsock's post came perilously close to saying. My point was that between 1903 and 2006 exactly one WS champ had Manny on their team, and the rest did not. Get it? That's, what, 103 champs without Manny, and one with? Just as the Mariners set an AL record after losing ARod and Unit, the Sox can win without Manny Ramirez. That's all!

And no need for the sarcasm, l-girl. I have no illusions about the infallibility of the Sox front office (unlike the "we're doomed without Theo" crowd so vocal here last year at this time), and I think they royally blew it 12 ways to Sunday last season. But trading an aging player who just might have quit on his team when they needed him most and who annually asks to be traded is not a particularly unconventional move, and if the Sox can get something close to even value, then such a trade could help the team, makes sense, and you don't have to be a genius to figure that out.

As for the importance of "protection," it's 95% fantasy! A blog like this one, that understands stats, should certainly be in agreement on that issue. Who was the big stick behind Albert Pujols last year? Why didn't he walk 200 times? Manny had a .230 hitter behind him most of last year: why didn't HE walk 200 times? That's a bullshit, "conventional wisdom" argument that just doesn't track with the statistics or logic. Bill James has written about 20 essays on the topic; it's a SABR favorite. And if the Sox have good hitters in the #1 and #2 slot, Ortiz will get more than enough enough pitches to get his 40 homers. The "protection" argument is stuff I expect from the likes of Rick Sutcliffe. I presume this group is a lot smarter than that.

Then again, my Jack Russell Terrier is smarter than Sutcliffe.

Sean O said...

The Sox can't win without Manny. Last year we had 2 hitters at the center of the order, then a bunch of crap filling out the edges. We dump Manny and sign Drew (who is frequently injured), we have:
Pena (whom I love)
Lugo (who can't hit his way out of a paper bag)
Pedroia (who's too young to contribute anything but a decent glove)
Youkilis (who is an unacceptable 1B, but ok 3b)
Varitek (see comments about Lugo)
Lowell (you see that final line? ugly)
Crisp (replacement level)

And no bullpen. I don't see why we trade Manny for spare parts, it doesn't make any sense. Unless we get a stud SP and a prospect, don't trade him. He's a top-5 hitter in every single season, and we want to trade him for Bob Howry? Be serious.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather they keep Manny, but if they can move him for some MLB ready prospects I wouldn't be terribly upset, either. The Sox seem determined to get rid of him, which given the market right now doesn't seem to make much sense, so they must be convinced they can either get enough pieces to replace him or that the team would simply be better off with his distractions somewhere else.

The team to watch is the Giants. Olney said they'd need a third team to make a deal work (since they won't part with Matt Cain), so I'm sure the Sox, ideally, would like that third team to be the Blue Jays, so they'd end up with Wells, the Giants with Manny, and the Jays with prospects.

I can't see Toronto doing that, but if they're convinced they're going to lose Wells anyway, you never know.

Kyle said...

Sounds like Jack has bought into all that media garbage about Manny "quitting" on the team and "asking for a trade every year".

He didn't ask last year.

Trading him now just doesn't make sense to me.

Kevin said...

The only thing I can see Manny getting traded for is a package including a stellar closer.

Sean - I an excited to see how instructional and winter league play improved Pena's patience and ability to deal with offspeed pitches. WMP is definitely the offensive player I am most interested in seeing develop.

L-girl said...

L-Girl, no qualm with the use of the term "punting"?:)

None whatsoever. :-)

Woti, thank you for your brains and your common sense.

It's sad to see "xx team has won exactly xx WS with player xx" here on JoS. Everyone should be well above that ridiculous illogic.

Then again, my Jack Russell Terrier is smarter than Sutcliffe.

I sure hope so! If he weren't, how would he get through the day?

Sorry about the sarcasm, Jack. The first sentence of your initial comment was just begging for it, but I should have resisted the lure.

Jere said...

Exactly 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 good deeds have been performed by someone OTHER than Mother Theresa. Trade her sorry ass to San Fran!

Jack Marshall said...

Sean's assessment of te team makes no sense at all to me. WHY is Youk unacceptible at first? Who says Lugo can't hit? He's better than Gonzo; better than Cabrera, better than Nomar his last year. Crisp had an injury's absurd to call him "replacement level." Loretta was crap? Christ, that's not glass half empty, that's "where's the glass?"

Uh, Kyle: Manny DID request a trade last year; at this point in 2005, the Sox were trying to accommodate him. How quickly we forget!

Assuming the press is making stuff up is just as irrational as believing everything they say. Personally, I thought Manny quit on the team too. Here was Youk, injured himself, risking looking like a fool in Left, and Manny let him do it. I don't know for sure, but when the media reports backed my independent suspicions, yeah...I gave them some credence. I wish he were really too hurt to play, and maybe he was. But would it surprise anyone here if he wasn't?

Teams can win without Manny Ramirez. Gee, what a controversial statement.

Hey...can that Mother Theresa chick play left?

Zenslinger said...

L-G, Jack's style of expression has been known to rub me the wrong way from time to time, but even I could see he was just saying that it was possible to win without Manny.

I'm not sure if I agree, though. Sean's overly pessimistic in his assessment of the other hitters, but it seems to me that it's true that there's nothing like having a truly feared hitter in your lineup. How do several medicore-to-good players make up for Manny when you're going to have (at least) mediocore-to-good players out there anyway?

We talked, maybe it was at the trade deadline last year, but it might have been before the season began, about replacement value for Manny. I said that only Tejada could really fill the hole, as there was talk about him at that time. Redsock proved me wrong, showed that Manny was a considerably more valuble hitter than Tejada. (Although if Manny's considered a bargain this offseason, the O's would be crazy to move Tejada at a mere $12m a year.)

My question is: what has really changed? Unless there was some very remarkable pitching to be had for Manny (and there's no indication that's the case), how could be get replacement value for him? Unless the Sox know for sure (and I don't mean fuckin' Shaunghessy-sure) that Manny quit on them last year, I don't see what's changed. He remains irreplaceable as far as I'm concerned.

I'm curious if everyone's in agreement that the "protection" notion is crap. I am statistical-analysis challenged myself.

Jack Marshall said...

Z: I think the following has changed: 1) Manny is now 35. He may fool us, but he doesn't look like the kind of guy who's going to play at super-star level into his 40s. I think the team anticipates a decline, and statistically, that's more likely than not. 2) Cumulatively, the organization gets less and less tolerant of the yearly trade demands and other nonsense. 3) The team crashed and burned last year. Manny's a big chip to address a general overhaul. 4) I think the Sox feel that they have another 40 homer guy ready to step in. I agree with them, but only if Wily Mo stops making Manny look like Brady Anderson in left. 5) Manny's salary is no longer out of line with the norm and too rich for most teams to take on. That makes him both more tradeable and more economical to keep. But see reasons 1-4.

I completely agree that the Sox won't be able to replace Manny in one hitter...he's the best right-handed slugger the Sox have had since Jimmy Foxx, and he's one of the top 5 hitters alive.

Please don't get me wrong...I love Manny on the field, and I'd hate to see him go. But I think he is going, and I don't think it necessarily will be a disaster if he does.

Woti-woti said...

Allow me to give my unsolicited, speculative opinion on why I suspect the 'Manny for value' argument. Jerry Callahan does a hatchet job on JD Drew in today's Herald and mentions what 'they' say about obscenity. You know it when you see it. I think the same can be said about value. And I don't think that's what we'll see in return for Manny. Whoever we get will be spun, doctored, massaged and projected in front of wiggly mirrors through a haze of stale cigar smoke. That's only Act I. When Manny leaves town, Act II will begin. Edes, Mazz, CHB et al will suddenly find 'sources' with stories about what a cancerous, injury-faking, selfish dickhead Manny actually was. Scripted, of course, by LL and the Dentist. Now I'm being irrational here and maybe just pine for adherence to the old 'bird in the hand worth two in the bush' rule. I'm simply being silly in thinking that 'the bush' is going to be the league in which these guys are currently playing.

Zenslinger said...

Nice post, JM, though I see real meat only in your reason #1.

As for #2: they put up if he's worth it, and, unless he really did quit without reason last year, he is. #3 strikes me as just doing something just to do something and I don't like it (although on the other side of the coin is the success of the Nomar trade, there may have been reason #1 type logic involved in that.) #4 is nothing to base a season on, although obviously it would be a remarkable triumph for WMP to become a superstar (especially if NL pitchers can somehow tame Bronson Arroyo's bat), it's more of a 2008 hope for me.

Sean O said...

1). Youkilis: of the 24 1b in the league last year, he had the 19th best OPS, behind Kevin Millar. Now obviously his value is in his OBP, but if he were a 3b, he'd be nearly top-10.

2). Lugo: Career .740 OPS, yikes. For 8m, that's a joke, even in this market, and especially with his shoddy defense. Yeah he's had good years (or parts of years), but we can't sign him hoping he'd get his OBP back up to .370. He's an acceptable choice, but not for the money or the term of the deal.

3). Crisp: He would've been 123 of 160 players in OPS if he hadn't injured himself. For OBP, he's around 150. He's a terrible hitter.

4). Loretta: His .350 OBP is good, but his 151 of 160 ranking in OPS and 152nd in SLG aren't so hot.

We need offensive help, badly.

Jack Marshall said...

Don't understand your comment on Crisp, Sean. He was injured from April on, according to him and the do you know where he would have ranked? His OPS was better than Damon's in' do you know that isn't the real Coco? I suspect it is; I'd certainly give him through May to be sure. Youk is young; he figures to improve, and his late season slump due to being hurt, playing for Manny and batting lower in the order loused up his stats. A lot depends on whether Varitek is cooked or just had an off year. IF Crisp and Tek get back on track, the team improves on Trot in right (not difficult, right?)and upgrades from Gonzo offensively (also not hard), that's a lot more offense. This team was in a close bunch at the top of the league offensively until the injuries hit and the wheels fell off...why do you assume that the post August 15 offense was the real one?

Kyle said...

Jack - Manny DID NOT request a trade in 2006. Check your sources.

When Manny is gone, I don't want to hear you crying about how we miss his bat. Or when Ortiz asks for a trade at the end of 2007.

2007 is turning into a worse season than 2006 and we aren't even to spring training yet! I'm losing trust in Theo & Co.

Woti-woti said...

Hmm, seems like my little cry-baby rant yesterday may have been just that. Looks like plenty of suitors for Manny with Sox pulling a Boras and playing them all off against each other. So many different sources, it can't all be bullshit. I still want to keep Manny, but I'll try to curb my dark side and sneak back into the 'wait-and-see' camp.

Jack Marshall said...

Kyle, check your CALENDAR. THIS is 2006, and Manny HAS requested a trade. And he had requested a trade going into the winter meetings in 2005....then he retracted it later, after the Sox had wasted critical time looking for trading partners. Don't you remember the "Gee, Miggy has asked the O's to trade HIM, and Manny wants the Sox to trade HIM...maybeeeee.." nonsense? Christ, are we trying "Gaslight" old Jack? ("Ramirez? Who's Manny Ramirez?")

PS: If he's still here, Manny will also request a trade in 2007.