The ‘Manny Being Manny’ circus will no longer be a part of the everyday talks in Boston as the 36-year old left-fielder was traded right before yesterday’s 4pm deadline to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three team blockbuster deal.
Throughout the day, talks circled around a three team negotiation that would send Manny Ramirez out of Boston but these discussions appeared to be dormant around 2pm and dead by 3:30pm. The original teams involved in the talks were rumored to be Boston, Pittsburgh and Florida but apparently Florida dropped out of the negotiations in the mid afternoon hours which allowed for the Los Angeles Dodgers to jump in.
The three teams worked quickly and were able to pull off a last minute deal which sends Ramirez to the Dodgers. Boston relief pitcher Craig Hansen and OF prospect Brandon Moss go to the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as LA’s 3B Andy LaRoche and pitching prospect Bryan Morris. In return, the Pirates send OF Jason Bay to Boston to fill Ramirez’s spot in left field.
With the deal done, all three organizations feel like they are winners in the trade. LA fills the void of a power bat in their line up with Ramirez and hopefully takes some pressure off of Andruw Jones who has struggled in the clean up spot all season long. Pittsburgh receives four young prospects and no longer has to worry about the large contract that Bay was carrying for next season. Boston receives a younger outfielder that has proven himself in the National League as a dependable hitter with a great lifetime on base percentage, and rids themselves of all of the drama surrounding Ramirez in the clubhouse.
One person who is very excited about the trade is Dodgers manager, former Yankees skipper as well, Joe Torre.
“When a player like Manny becomes available, I don’t think there’s a manager in baseball who wouldn’t say they’re interested,” said Torre, whose Yankees teams went toe-to-toe with Ramirez for years. “Manny’s certainly not a simple personality, that’s for sure. He’s complex. But I’ve seen him when he competes.
Torre saw Ramirez compete many times in the Red Sox vs. Yankees games and knows just what kind of raw hitting talent and power he possesses every time he swings the bat.
Former teammates of Ramirez are also happy to see that he will be joining them on the West Coast for the final two months of the season.
“It’s nice to see we’ve done something like this, to make a push for the next two months,” said Nomar Garciaparra who played with Ramirez in Boston from 2000 until he was traded in 2004. “He’ll be just fine. Manny is really a simple person. He works extremely hard. He just wants to play baseball and go home and be with his family. How can you not respect and love a guy like that?”
Another familiar face, Derek Lowe, knows that his new teammate can be a little goofy at times but he believes his career numbers allow for his antics to take place occasionally.
“I think people for some reason think he’s lazy and a bad teammate and that he doesn’t care,” Lowe said. “He’s none of the above. Does he do some goofy things? Absolutely. He does do some goofy things. But as far as preparation and knowing the game and wanting to win, there’s no way you put up those numbers year in and year out unless you’re a special talent and work at it. And he does both.”
Ramirez hit his 500th home run earlier this season, was batting .299 and led the Red Sox with 20 homers and 68 RBIs. He is one of only eight players to hit at least 20 homers in 14 consecutive seasons.
So now that the deal is officially in the books, let’s take a look at the winners, losers and everything in between from this move.
Big Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers – They get one of baseballs best power hitters for almost nothing, AND they don’t even have to pay him because part of the agreement was the Red Sox will pick up the remaining $7 million dollars owed in this year’s contract.
Winner: Boston Red Sox – Finally the adventures in left field, the Fenway Park clubhouse and media room will be coming to an end. The charismatic Ramirez is out of town and the Sox welcome a clean cut player in Bay to their organization. He may not hit for the same power numbers as Ramirez but he runs and fields better, hustles more, and most importantly, he cares.
Not a Winner Yet, But Definitely Not a Loser: Pittsburgh Pirates – Whenever you trade a proven player for prospects you’re not going to be looked at as a winner right away but there’s always that chance that the prospects become stars. They may have traded away Bay but five years ago Bay was traded to them as a prospect and look how he turned out. Give Moss and LaRoche a few years and they could be everyday players that can produce some pretty decent numbers.
Very Happy: The guys who work behind the Green Monster – Finally they can do their job in peace without Ramirez poking his head inside there every other pitch.
Not so Happy: David Ortiz – For his entire time with the Red Sox he’s had the protection of Ramirez’s bat either right in front of behind him in the lineup. Now with the slugger out of town the power hitting lefty may not be seeing as many good pitches and his walks will increase but extra base hits may drop.
Ecstatic – New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays – The most feared hitter in Boston’s lineup is out of town and they no longer have to worry about seeing him again unless they face him in the World Series. Over the years in Boston, Ramirez compiled 55 homeruns against New York and 38 against Tampa Bay so with him out of the league these two franchises couldn’t be any happier.
The fact that Manny’s not going to be in left field tonight at Fenway Park may take some time getting used to for Red Sox fans. Some will miss the tossing of his glove 10 feet over his head in between pitches, or the ridiculous underhand throws into second base after casually jogging down hits in the corner, random dives to cutoff balls thrown by his own outfield teammates, or even the occasional homerun pose after he makes solid contact with a ball that ends up staying in the yard and forces him to bust hard all the way into second for a double.
That was just Manny being Manny, and as much of a distraction as he’d become, its something that the fans of Red Sox nation will miss. That and not to mention his bat in our lineup, but this is not the first trade that GM Theo Epstein has made at the deadline that fans did not understand right away; ex. Nomar in 2004, but hopefully it pans out as the others did and the Sox find themselves back in the post-season.
Manny’s time in Boston will not be forgotten. Now that it’s all said and done with, the only thing that the Fenway Faithful can do is say thank you for his 7 ½ years of service. He was a big part of not one, but two World Series Championship clubs and over the years provided that flair that reminded fans that baseball is a sport that can still be fun, even if he sometimes acted like a 36-year old going on five.
See ya later Manny.