July 26, 2008

Theo Says He's Open To Trading Manny

From Fox's Saturday afternoon broadcast, bottom of the second inning (small bits of game description edited out; Theo stuff bolded):
Joe Buck: If you don't know why we keep talking about the Manny Ramirez situation, he showed up at the park of a finale of a series in Seattle and said he couldn't play. His knee was sore and he was unavailable. Then an off day. And then after initially posting one lineup card yesterday, Terry Francona found out that Ramirez was not able to go again, according to Manny, and had to change the lineup. ... So Francona changes the lineup last night and then last night met with Manny Ramirez, and this morning met with Manny Ramirez to discuss the situation. And I think Terry Francona's best defense -- it's very hard for anybody not named Manny Ramirez to say "okay that guy's not hurt". Here is a guy who's played 95 games and if you ask Terry Francona, he'll say, well, obviously, we're getting towards August, everybody's nicked up at this point so it's hard for Francona or any one of us or any one of his teammates to say "well, he's not hurt, he's faking it." But what Francona will tell you is if he was hurt, then it's up to him to get treatment, extra treatment on that knee. That never came up, it was never a part of his daily routine and then he just pops up at the ball park and says he can't play.

Tim McCarver: I'm not a doctor, but I would think that if he was hurt, that it would show up on an MRI. They had both knees MRI'd last night. Nothing showed up on the MRI. One question we asked of Theo Epstein, who was in Terry's office today, was that -- is it out of the realm of possibility that Manny could be traded? Theo Epstein's response to that is that Manny has a no-trade clause, but if he would waive -- he said you can tell this -- you can say this on the air, that if he would waive that no-trade clause, that they would be interested in talking to other teams about the services of Manny Ramirez. Now I thought that was a very candid comment from Theo Epstein.

Buck: Well, a couple of times -- I mean, Ramirez was a guy who was signed by the previous regime. Dan Duquette was the general manager at the time, and this group has never really warmed up to him, despite all the production on the field and what he does with a bat in his hand. They put him on waivers in the past, they had him involved in the deal for Alex Rodriguez, which fell apart, so it's not like it's out of the realm of possibility that they would want to do it, but as Theo said, and it makes sense, he's untradeable.

McCarver: Yeah.

Buck: He's a 5 & 10 guy, so he can veto any deal and with these options, he would want any team that picked him up to pick up his contract options for the next two years at $20 million a pop and that's not going to happen.

McCarver: No.

Buck: So it appears, as we sit here on the 26th of July in 2008, that Manny Ramirez will be a player that Terry Francona has to deal with --

McCarver: As he has.

Buck: -- for the rest of the year. The odd thing is that if he was making a statement, Manny Ramirez, here's a guy who has changed his attitude with the media, he's been very accessible as opposed to years past, he wants the Red Sox to pick up a $20 million option for next year, he seems to have acted and played as a guy who wants that option picked up, then to do what he did at this time of the year, if that's what happened, to make a statement, not only disappoints the Red Sox, but sends off alarm bells across major league baseball, that the guy is not to be counted on if he is indeed not injured and just sitting out -- the last two games.

McCarver: You have a guaranteed contract, you're sitting out, it's almost the baseball player's version of extortion. What are you going to do to him? What are you going to do? Dock his pay? You can't do that.
I'm not sure Theo's statement is news -- the club has indicated its willingness in the past to trade Manny in the right deal. But I thought I'd type it out -- and also offer a flavour of how Fox was spinning it.

35 comments:

redsock said...

SoSH discussion here.

Jack Marshall said...

I don't get this AT ALL.

Clearly, there is something going on that we have not been told.

You do not disrupt a team mid-pennant drive to talk about trading a key player unless he has done something out of the ordinary FOR THAT PLAYER, and something very destructive to the team that threatens to hurt the team's prospects more than turning the team's line-up upside down. What could that possibly be here? Theo's not crazy. There has to be more to this than Manny taking a couple of days off for a minor injury.

L-girl said...

Clearly, there is something going on that we have not been told.

Quite a bit, I'm sure.

redsock said...

It seems totally out of character for Theo to tell Buck/McCarver something about possibly trading one of his most famous players and add "you can say it over the air" (if McCarver is correct in his retelling).

If he wants to chat with any GM about Manny, Theo can simply pick up his phone. If he needs to tell Manny something, he'll go talk to Manny.

What good does it do Theo to have his statement broadcast nationally? Is he sending a message to Sox fans that Manny may be gone?

Unless the Sox have been working out a deal in total secret, it seems unlikely that anything would get done by Thursday evening.

My guess at Manny not wearing in a Red Sox uniform next year? 85%. Shit.

ish said...

What good does it do Theo to have his statement broadcast nationally? Is he sending a message to Sox fans that Manny may be gone?

Especially since they don't tell shit to anyone. Why do you all of a sudden say it's okay to say this over the air? It doesn't make sense. General Managers are rarely this candid.

redsock said...

Then again, it's old news from Theo.

"We will listen to any deal for Manny (or any other player, to be perfectly honest). If a deal was agreed upon, it would need Manny's blessing to be completed. So if Manny waived his no-trade clause, then any possible deal could go forward."

Theo is not exactly breaking any new ground, but the timing is highly suspect.

...

I wish one of the writers -- after his or her career is over -- would write a tell-all book, for history's sake. I don't care who is wrong or right -- I'd simply love more background on all this stuff.

9casey said...

It's seems to me that Theo is calling his bluff..yet again...Because with Theo saying all that to Mcgarver, who he knows will say it over the air, It seems as though Theo wants the fans against Manny as well, i have trouble wondering how that helps the club, or he is that fed up... And if he is trading him , what do you get in return? He is a Hall-of Famer who could get you nothing...

nixon33 said...

yanks got ponson (who is actually pitching well) nady, marte and now washburn (whos been pitching better, even though we spanked him).

whats theo doing!?

andy said...

This feels like 2005 kinda. Some of 2006. Definitely not 2007. Sorry it just does.

James said...

It pains me to say it, but I'm in favor of moving him.

I don't often give a lot of thought to "clubhouse chemistry" issues, and am a pretty big Manny apologist, but I'm kind of fed up. The aggresiveness, the constant griping about money (from someone who has made 160 million over the last 8 years), the pretty lackluster effort he's shown the last few weeks, and either a)faking an injury or b)not disclosing an injury for a week.

His behavior in previous years has ranged from funny to frustrating. This year, it ranges from frustrating to totally unacceptable, and I can understand how that could bug other players. If you can find something of value, let him go. Detroit, NY (NL) and Minnesota could probably all use him. Maybe even the Dodgers or the Diamondbacks, as well. Get what you can now, or let the contract expire, take the draft picks, and sign Pat Burrell next year.

Ugh. I hope he leaves soon before he does anything else to sour me on him any further. I'd like to remember him as being silly and lovable, not money-grubbing, lazy, and moody.

redsock said...

the constant griping about money

Examples?

redsock said...

the pretty lackluster effort he's shown the last few weeks

In Manny's last 10 games coming into today, he hit .500/.581/.861 for a 1.442 OPS. And only 5 K in 43 PA.

Going back almost two months -- since June 1: .324/.442/.574

If that's "lackluster", I cannot WAIT until he gets his ass in gear. Should be fun!

nixon33 said...

If that's "lackluster", I cannot WAIT until he gets his ass in gear. Should be fun!

amen

L-girl said...

This feels like 2005 kinda. Some of 2006. Definitely not 2007. Sorry it just does.

Andy, you say shit like this every other day. It doesn't matter what it "feels" like to you. This is 2008. We don't know how it ends yet. We have to live it to find out.

L-girl said...

and am a pretty big Manny apologist

Are you now? Doesn't sound like it. Sounds like the typical Manny bashing we hear all around.

I'm curious about this griping about money and lackluster effort.

I'm curious if you'll back up anything you wrote with facts.

L-girl said...

I hope he leaves soon before he does anything else to sour me on him any further.

Yeah, me too! We wouldn't want anything to sour you! That would be really terrible!

I'd like to remember him as being silly and lovable, not money-grubbing, lazy, and moody.

It's hard to believe that someone who once found Manny silly and loveable now finds him money-grubbing, lazy, and moody.

I call bullshit on your whole post. I don't know who you are, but I'm willing to bet you never found Manny silly or loveable.

(Where is this "money grubbing" shit coming from?)

James said...

Hey, I swear, I was one of the biggest Manny apologists you'd ever hear. There's no way for me to prove that to you, but it's the truth.

I helped my girlfriend make a poster which used thick, black ropes to simulate his dreadlocks coming out of a very lifelike painting of his head. And this was at the beginning of this season. The poster had the first line from E-40's awesome song, "Tell Me When to Go" on it. Really a pretty awesome poster. We want to take it to a game, next time we can get tickets.

However, I've changed my opinion on Manny. I'd like to think changing opinion is allowable. It's not exactly the result of some long, drawn out thought process, it's just sort of a gut feeling I've gotten from him this year. They won't let me write for Baseball Prospectus, but it makes for good talk on the buses and trains. I'll try to make my reasons as clear as can be.

It doesn't seem to anyone else that all we hear out of Manny is stuff about his contract? He accuses the front office of being dishonest in terms of the contract situation, says that he thinks they should pick up both options now and then give him a 4 year extension, and hires Scott Boras as his agent. These don't seem like money grubbing to anyone else?

And when I said lackluster effort, I really did mean effort. The results have been pretty good this year, at least at the plate. I don't want to focus on the at-bat against Mo', because I don't really believe he went up there thinking he wasn't going to swing, but combined with that rolling around in the outfield, and taking a few days off for a knee condition that he claimed had been going on for a week, but which Terry claimed was new to him... I don't know. Either he didn't report an injury to the training staff, which is not good, or he's faking it, which is much, much worse.

I don't really understand what you mean by facts. I mean, he clearly did hit Youk, he clearly did push down an old guy, he clearly did accuse the front office of double dealing (which John Henry called "personally offensive"), he clearly did hire Scott Boras, he clearly did take himself out of the lineup with an injury he said had been going on for a week, he clearly didn't report that injury to the training staff.

These are facts, I think, that point to him being a)more physically aggresive this year than previous years b)more concerned with money than previous years.

Are we willing to all agree that his outfield and baserunning are lackluster, and in these fields he shows, at time, a lack of effort and/or focus? That doesn't seem like a particularly controversial statement to me. No one ever loved Manny for his fielding or baserunning.

However, we loved him for his hitting which is a)Still very, very good and b)Not as good as it used to be and c)Not likely to get better in the next few years.

We also loved him for his goofy personality. However, this year, the goofiness seems to have given way to something else. Instead of being a goofy, somewhat aloof superslugger, he seems to be an angry, calculating semisuperslugger.

It's hard to believe that someone who once found Manny silly and loveable now finds him money-grubbing, lazy, and moody.

Is it really so hard to believe that someone would change their mind about a baseball player's personality? How many people have stories like "sure, David Ortiz seems friendly, but he wouldn't sign a card for my sun when we saw him at the gas station." All things considered, it's not a big deal. I'll still cheer for him at the park, and I'll still think of the last 8 years fondly, but I think the time has come to part with him.

Jack Marshall said...

I don't really see that Manny's act has changed so much (or at all) for the worst that it would justify a fire sale now, when the Sox are in a three-team race, the catcher looks like he's never going to hit again, the kid phenom is in a slump and the 4th outfielder has an on-base % of 310. Manny drives me crazy sometimes, and I think there probably are better ways to spend 20 million in 2009---but based on what we know, at least, trading him now is INSANE.

I don't see any signs of money-grubbing or laziness at all. He's unpredictable,as he has always been unpredictable. Any time an organization's key asset is unpredictable (or unreliable) it is a problem and a concern. But this is hardly a revelation to Theo or the Sox. Something else has changed.

redsock said...

doesn't seem to anyone else that all we hear out of Manny is stuff about his contract?

You are forgetting his extensive comments -- repeated in many interviews over many weeks this season -- in which he said words to the effect of: "Whatever happens happens. It'll all work itself out. I'm just gonna play."

I appreciate the effort in writing a long post explaining yourself. But I don't see it the same way.

redsock said...

The other question about moving him is: Would whatever you'd get back be able to recreate the missing production (in either creating runs or preventing them)?

Manny's been hitting pretty nicely for the last two months. Tiz was not very happy with the lineup in 2006 when Manny out of action (granted, everyone was hurt).

tim said...

The other question about moving him is: Would whatever you'd get back be able to recreate the missing production (in either creating runs or preventing them)?

Vlad for Manny? I haven't done any form of research on this and am 100% sure the Angels wouldn't move Guerrero, but I think that would be a somewhat decent trade. He's having a down year this year, but has put up very solid #s for many years. Also younger than MBM and he is in a contract year. Just would have to move from RF to LF....but it would be sweet.

Oh and also, re: james' comment:

Are we willing to all agree that his outfield and baserunning are lackluster, and in these fields he shows, at time, a lack of effort and/or focus?

I'll agree to disagree on this one. I feel like a broken record but I've gotta keep saying it until people realize it. I honestly do think he could win a gold glove. It's just that everyones biased against him because of the misinformation they've been hearing his whole career. I would say that unorthodox is probably the best word to describe Manny. I think smart is also a pretty good word to describe his fielding...Look, yeah it may appear lazy/lackluster, but as an example of the way I see it, if a ball is hit to such a place where the guy is going to get a double anyway, yeah of course Manny doesn't hustle to get it in. 9.5 times out of 10, it doesn't make a difference if he hustles to the ball or jogs there and lobs it in to the cutoff man. There's that odd time during the year where the runners able to get an extra base - then the media blows it up and everyone gets the perception that he's a lazy bum.

He's made many great plays in the outfield, gold glove caliber plays. He has a good amount of putouts due to his accuracy, and he's a pretty damn good fielder.

I think the same can be said about his baserunning - if it's clearly going to be an out, yeah he doesn't bother hustling. Why waste your energy on that? It's not worth it. Would you rather have some hyperactive chihuahua like Eckstein on your team that runs to first on a BB? I know I certainly wouldn't. Manny runs when he needs to, that's it. He beat out that DP today because of his hustle, and I didn't hear anyone laud him for that. But Buck and McMoron were proud to point out his lack of hustle on his next at bat where he grounded out.

It's all about being able to cut through the BS that the media tells you, and being able to actually form your own opinion about what's happening. Being able to realize that a pretty large amount of what the media tells you is almost certainly blown out of proportion with regards to Manny (given the track record), is the first step towards enlightenment.

Yes, Manny is a cog of this team, and no I don't think he's going anywhere. It will be a pretty big shock to me if he goes, and Theo better be getting something big in return if he does decide to move MBM.

Jack Marshall said...

Redsock: Of course. Which is why I can't see a trade happening unless the Sox want to punt the season. One of the XM hacks was pushing a Phillies-Sox trade where Manny nets Burrell and the Phils' top catching prospect. I suppose that's the best case scenario, but Burrell is no Ramirez. Maybe Theo sees this as akin to trading Nomar mid-2004. But Nomar was having a poor year at bat and in the field.

Unless Manny is running around the clubhouse setting fire to lockers or selling crack or something, you live with him, try to get him happy and hitting, and move on. Nothing else makes any sense right now.

L-girl said...

Is it really so hard to believe that someone would change their mind about a baseball player's personality?

It was, yes.

Even the use of the word "apologist" - rather than fan - seems strange to me. I am a fan of Manny Ramirez; I don't feel I need to be an apologist.

Are we willing to all agree that his outfield and baserunning are lackluster, and in these fields he shows, at time, a lack of effort and/or focus?

Absolutely not. I think Manny's baserunning is like everyone else's. No player runs out every ground ball.

The next time you watch a game, watch every single player run down the line to 1B. Do that for a week and see if you really think Manny really displays lackluster baserunning more than any other player.

Manny's fielding has been anywhere from solid to spectacular. People who watch the games and not the highlight reels see Manny make tremendous catches all the time, and he's got a great arm.

He's not perfect out there, of course. But his gaffes are blown way out of proportion, to fit with the label that's already been applied, which you use verbatim.

[That's another reason I didn't believe you. You are parroting mediaspeak. I imagined a real fan of a player wouldn't do that.]

Other players whose fielding is/was highly suspect are never seen that way, because they wore other labels. Trot Nixon comes to mind, but there are many examples.

Thanks for returning to explain further. I see this completely differently than you, but I take back the bullshit call.

I'd be curious to know how much mainstream sports media you read, listen to or watch. I only watch the games and read blogs. And believe me, when all you care about is the sport itself, it's very easy to love Manny Ramirez.

L-girl said...

Tim, great comment!! I hadn't read it before I posted, or I would have just said "what Tim said".

Plus, I think we've got ourselves a new nickname. Long live the Hyperactive Chihuahua!

SoSock said...

Either there's a LOT going on we don't know about or this whole thing is being blown up past any shred of reality. I, for one, really would like to know if there IS something more to it, and if not - move on. Play ball.
I do kind of suspect that there is more to it, given the specific "you can say this on air" comment. Hope not, but afraid so.
Alas, Manny is Manny, always has been Manny, always will be Manny.

L-girl said...

Alas, Manny is Manny

Alas? Don't you mean Hurrah?

L-girl said...

I don't really see that Manny's act has changed so much (or at all) for the worst that it would justify a fire sale now, when the Sox are in a three-team race, the catcher looks like he's never going to hit again, the kid phenom is in a slump and the 4th outfielder has an on-base % of 310. Manny drives me crazy sometimes, and I think there probably are better ways to spend 20 million in 2009---but based on what we know, at least, trading him now is INSANE.

One thing Jack Marshall has never been is a "Manny apologist", so this really is the bottom line.

I don't see any signs of money-grubbing or laziness at all.

This is also a very reliable observation, since it comes from someone who - I think it's fair to say - would be quick to see these qualities if they existed.

* * * *

What is "money-grubbing" anyway? How does it differ from wanting to get the biggest bucks for your services, which is in keeping with the values of our society, and which the majority of fans subscribe to?

Are the people who set the prices at the concession stands money grubbing? The FO who determine ticket prices? The people who cram advertising in every available spot in and around the game?

When it comes to greed in baseball, there's plenty of blame to go around. No need to single out one player, especially one who performs as well and as consistently as Manny does.

Tony said...

I just don't see why Theo would destroy any leverage he might have by broadcasting to a national audience that he's willing to let Manny go. Sure, he's said it before, but people have short memories. Not us, of course, but then we've been following Manny for nearly a decade.

Were it not for the current Yankees series and the fact that the standings are getting awful tight, I don't think this would be a big deal at all. Like our Peerless Leader pointed out, Manny has been hitting better than he has pretty much the entire season. What could Boston possibly get in return for him, anyway? Prospects? Why would Theo give away a major component of his offense in the midst of what's looking like a brutal war of attrition for both the AL East and the wild card? Unless he's getting back Holliday or Mark Teixeira (sp?), it won't be worth it. And even then, either a Tex or Holliday trade probably isn't giving you back value - especially since trading for Tex forces a billion different defensive moves.

Do I think Manny should go after this season? Yeah - he's getting older, and some fastballs are finally starting to sneak by him. Not many, but some. The only worry is that the free agent market is going to be thin. But we're getting to the point where the biggest concern regarding Manny isn't whether or not he's a distraction, but whether or not he's just too old.

I love Manny. I love watching him play, watching him hit, occasionally watching him play D. His fistbump with Steve Carell last year may have been the highlight of my life. There's no way in hell Boston wins in '04 and '07 without him, and he has the '04 WS MVP to prove it (I'd have given it to Bellhorn, but that's another story). He's one of the best hitters ever, and one of the best Red Sox ever. But it's probably time to start saying goodbye.

Kim said...

I can't even begin to tell you how utterly disgusted I am right now. It seems as though the Boston media is hell bent on making Manny look like the bad guy. They are stuffing their Manny hate down out throats and so many are biting at it. Their only interest is to have a big story and they're doing it off of Manny's back.

We've seen this before with Manny but now it seems as though a large number of "fans" have taken the bait.
They boo'ed him! The hell???

I thought it was very unprofessional of Theo to make that statement to Buck/McCarver, of all people!

I'm a Red Sox fan and to me that means standing by my guys no matter what. Jesus, give Manny a break!

I just want this issue to be over.

L-girl said...

I'm a Red Sox fan and to me that means standing by my guys no matter what.

Yeah Kim!

redsock said...

if a ball is hit to such a place where the guy is going to get a double anyway, yeah of course Manny doesn't hustle to get it in. 9.5 times out of 10, it doesn't make a difference if he hustles to the ball or jogs there and lobs it in to the cutoff man.

I've said this many times as well. Conserving energy is something every single player does -- it is impossible to go 100% all of the time. No one does it. (Even jacked up on greenies -- performance-assisting drugs, anyone? -- I'll bet Pete Rose wasn't sprinting all over the place every game.)

Once a player gets fitted for his media straightjacket -- and Manny was given his about 15 years ago -- it is impossible to wriggle out. As we all know with analysis, baseball is glacially slow to assimilate new information.

I don't think anyone would argue that Manny is in decline. And while he works hard on his fielding, something we hear on TV almost grudgingly, he does have poor range. Most modern metrics have him as a below-average fielder.

redsock said...

And as far as forming any opinion on Manny's attitudes and opinions, just remember that for almost all of the last 15 years, everything you have heard about Manny has come from the often unreliable, agenda-driven, attention-seeking media.

The media has shaped the discussion about Manny since the neginning. We hear stuff from his teammates, but for the most part it has been drowned out.

9casey said...

James said...
sign Pat Burrell ???????

For Manny, against Manny.It would just be nice to know what the fuck is really going on......

I have loved Manny for years , but if he really faked an injury not to play in any series let alone a Yankee series ....That is down right dispicable.you could disagree to any lenghth about that , but there is no defense ....none....

Jack Marshall said...

"I don't think anyone would argue that Manny is in decline. And while he works hard on his fielding, something we hear on TV almost grudgingly, he does have poor range. Most modern metrics have him as a below-average fielder."

Obviously.

But none of this right now has anything to do with his fielding (talking about Manny's fielding is like talking about Ted William's fielding) or his offensive decline. Even in decline, he's a superior hitter. You can live with his fielding, recognizing that there will be the occasional screw-up that loses a game.

It has to be, doesn't it, that Manny has actually told somebody with the club that he sat out to demonstrate his unhappiness with his contract situation. If so, 1) that is a genuine concern for the club 2) the players would be pissed off, and 3) it is a juvenile, self-destructive attitude that cannot be defended.

As of this moment, I haven't read anything that actually indicates that is true---just speculation. But simple deduction suggests that's the most likely scenario.

tim said...

Tim, great comment!! I hadn't read it before I posted, or I would have just said "what Tim said".

Plus, I think we've got ourselves a new nickname. Long live the Hyperactive Chihuah


Haha, nice. Yeah, I read your post there and was like "mmmhmm!" - also kudos on the 'money-grubbing' post...I was watching a hockey game from 1981 the other day and it was beautiful. Nice white boards, nice white ice. None of these fucking brands plastered everywhere like they are now.

Time to move to a newer thread since no one will check this.