Red Sox cut nose off to spite their face with Manny deal
Chris Ruddick, MLB Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Just when you think you have a nice, easy uneventful Major League Baseball trade deadline, you get a monster three-team blockbuster, literally minutes after the deadline, that throws your whole day off.
After almost 24 hours of speculation, Manny Ramirez was shipped to the Los Angeles Dodgers, while Jason Bay headed to Boston from Pittsburgh, which acquired a handful of prospects in the deal.
Comedian Chris Rock does a great bit talking about O.J. Simpson's alleged murder of his wife, saying he doesn't condone what the Juice may have done...but he understands.
I guess that is how I feel about this trade. You can try and convince me until you are blue in the face, but there is no way the Boston Red Sox are a better team without Ramirez than they are with him, no matter how unhappy he was.
Ramirez, despite being a run-scoring machine and the best right- handed hitter of this generation, was becoming a distraction. He was starting to sit out games with phantom injuries and his effort during John Lackey's no- hit bid the other night was embarrassing.
Would he have been that way the rest of the way? I don't know. Ramirez is nuts. I almost feel as much of a pain in the neck as he was becoming, he was almost as likely to declare his love for Red Sox ownership had he not been traded.
If you don't want to pick up his option, fine. Let him become a free agent at season's end. Contract years do funny things to players. Manny could have been an absolute beast over the final couple of months knowing he was going to be free soon, all the while leading the Sox to a division title and perhaps another World Series.
But then again, Manny could have continued to be a cancer and derailed any chances Boston may have had. So who knows? Maybe it is addition by subtraction. You almost get the feeling that a giant weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
I don't think so, though.
No slight to Bay, but he is not Manny Ramirez. There is a reason David Ortiz is as good as he is. He gets a ton of pitches to hit because Ramirez is the one who pitchers fear. Don't believe me, just take a look at J.D. Drew's numbers when he hit in front of Ramirez in the coveted three-hole in the Red Sox lineup, while Ortiz was on the shelf. He became an All-Star thanks to that.
In the end the Red Sox gave up three players, one of them being Ramirez, plus seven-million dollars for Jason Bay. Does that make any sense to anyone?
Four years ago the Red Sox did the same thing at the deadline when they dealt Boston hero Nomar Garciaparra to Chicago. That worked out with their first World Series title in 86 years.
Lightning is not going to strike twice here.
There there was also another future Hall of Famer dealt on Thursday, and no I am not talking about the Marlins' acquisition of Arthur Rhodes or Washington's pickup of the Attorney General, Alberto Gonzalez.
Ken Griffey Jr. waived his no-trade clause to go to Chicago for a shot at a championship.
Right off the bat, you think: Good move. The White Sox lead the Minnesota Twins by a 1 1/2 games in the AL Central heading into Thursday's action and could always use a bat like Griffey's, even at the age of 38.
But then after three seconds go by you wonder: Where exactly is Griffey going to play for Chicago?
Jermaine Dye and Carlos Quentin occupy the corner spots and Nick Swisher plays center. I guess you could put Swisher at first and Griffey in center, but he hasn't played there on a full-time basis since 2006 and chances are he will likely be injured by about August 7.
This one was a bit of a head-scratcher.
Anyway let's take a look at which teams helped their cause the most for a playoff run, while also checking in on some of the teams that may have hurt their chances with a quiet deadline day:
LOS ANGELES DODGERS
The Dodgers were very close to joining the loser category here, but when you grab one of the best hitters to ever play, it changes things a bit. Joe Torre's crew is just a game back of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NL West with a pivotal four-game series between the two on tap this weekend. Could Manny have the same effect on the struggling Andruw Jones that he had on Ortiz and Drew?
LOS ANGELES ANGELS OF ANAHEIM
The Angels already own the best record in baseball and are blessed with the best starting staff in the game. Now you add Mark Teixeira to a lineup that already includes Vladimir Guerrero and you not just have a team that is going to reach the playoffs, you have the odds-on-favorite to win the World Series.
NEW YORK YANKEES
The Yankees are clearly going for it. They picked up the best left-handed setup man in the game, Damaso Marte, along with a quality corner outfielder in Xavier Nady for what amounted to nothing. Then, they add 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan Rodriguez, who, of course, is nowhere near the player he once was, but he is still an upgrade over Jose Molina at the plate. Defensively, they are about the same, but the Yankees needed an everyday catcher with Jorge Posada done for the season. They probably need another starter and will likely get one like Jarrod Washburn from Seattle through waivers sometime in August. Keep in mind Phil Hughes is on a rehab assignment, as is Carl Pavano (remember him). Both could be ready for a September run.
The Brewers picked up the biggest difference maker on the market from a pitching standpoint in big left-hander CC Sabathia back in early June. Sabathia didn't help any this week against Chicago, but he has made the Brewers a bona fide contender. They could have used another reliever so look for them to scour the waiver-wire as that deadline approaches because Salomon Torres and Eric Gagne late in games is not going to get it done in October.
As big of a pickup as Sabathia was for Milwaukee, Rich Harden did the same for the Cubs. When Harden is on his game and healthy he is as good as any pitcher in baseball and he is proving it right now. In his four starts since the trade he is pitching to a 1.11 earned run average and that includes a win over the Brewers on Thursday. But, you are always waiting for the injury shoe to drop with him. If he stays healthy, though, 100 years of agony could be over in the Windy City.
BOSTON RED SOX
If you don't want to pick up the option on Ramirez fine, but don't cut your nose off to spite your face for this season. I stated it all above. I just don't think the Red Sox made themselves any better by getting rid of Ramirez. Good day if you root for the Yankees and Rays.
The Marlins had a chance to make the biggest splash of the day with the acquisition of Ramirez. In the end, though, they got a little too greedy by being a little too cheap. Ramirez would have been owed around $7 million the rest of the way, but the Marlins were asking for close to $9 million plus prospects from Boston. For a team that only has a payroll of around $22 million, it's hard to fault them for not pulling the trigger here, but Ramirez would have made the Marlins the favorites in the East.
Why even bother putting a team out there? Honestly. There is a reason they haven't had a winning season since Barry Bonds played there. Maybe Neal Huntington should have called a few more teams about Xavier Nady/Damaso Marte because the package he received from the Yankees was laughable. Marte was the best reliever on the market. I am not sure the four of those players combined was enough for him. He saved a little face with the Bay ransom, but he blew it big time with that first deal.
NEW YORK METS
The New York Mets better hope that Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese, Eddie Kunz or Bobby Parnell turn into something, because if they don't, they are going to rue the day that they did not pull the trigger to get an outfield bat. The Mets have a legit shot at an NL Pennant. These chances don't come around too often. To sit by idly while one of the best hitters of this generation, who plays a position which is a glaring need, is mind boggling. If you didn't want to pay the price for Ramirez fine, but Raul Ibanez, Adam Dunn and Bay all could have been had. So, enjoy Fernando Tatis and Endy Chavez down the stretch. By the way how are Alex Escobar and Bill Pulsipher doing these days?
You almost get the feeling that Phillies GM Pat Gillick called the Mets' Omar Minaya and said, "Look how about neither one of us do anything and see what happens." Not to mention that they got Joe Blanton with a package that was better than the one the A's received from Chicago for Rich Harden. Did they even ask about him? I guess the Phils' scouts thought Blanton's 5-plus ERA translated well at Citizens Bank Park.