Reports filtered in after the MLB trade deadline that the Boston Red Sox had actually gone ahead and done it — they traded slugger Manny Ramirez.
Here’s how the three-team deal looks : The Red Sox ship Ramirez, who’s been loafing for two weeks, and much of his career, and decked a clubhouse trainer earlier this season, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Sox get Jason Bay from the Pittsburgh Pirates in return while the Buccos get four young players, including Boston pitcher Craig Hansen and outfielder Brandon Moss.
It’s certainly an interesting deal and there’s a chance it might be a good one for the Sox, who get a player in Bay who compares favorably to Ramirez in many statistical categories. He’s hit more home runs, has never been considered a headache and maybe the best part, he’s six years younger than Man-Ram, whose stats have been in decline. Huge deal for the Sox, who have the financial wherewithal, especially without having to pick up Ramirez’s $20 million option, to resign Bay to a long-term deal after the 2009 season.
But there are big questions. How Bay comes through when it matters is left to be seen. Say what you want about Ramirez, but he has a reputation for hitting well in many big games. Of course, a lot of baggage comes with that, and from the insights of Peter Gammons, it was clear that Manny’s act had run its course within the Boston clubhouse.
As for L.A., Tinsletown gets another main attraction, and he comes in a big-hitting package who may be enough to singlehandedly carry the Dodgers to a division title in a terribly weak NL West. Former Yankees manager Joe Torre knows how to handle big personalities, but there’s no doubt he has his hands full now. You can bet Dodgers third base coach Larry Bowa will ride Manny’s butt hard if he even thinks about peeling off the first-base line on another ground ball. How does Ramirez respond? Good question. Predicting Manny’s actions is like predicting the path of an F-5 tornado.
The Pirates did well, too, though. Third baseman Andy LaRoche from L.A. has a chance to be a star and the Bucs can hold onto him for a long while.
While the Sox may have done well to get Bay, time will tell how this trade turns out for all teams. Hansen has a huge ceiling and was untouchable in countless proposed Sox trades in the past, and Boston was originally holding onto Moss to put into left field should a different Ramirez trade come up. The Bucs also got young Dodgers pitching prospect Bryan Morris, who is said to have a live arm.
The Sox, who were going to let Manny go into free agency after October anyway, may have given up a ton — including $7 million to the Dodgers to pay Manny’s freight — just to be rid of Ramirez two months earlier. It suggests just how fractured Ramirez had made the club.
Is it addition by subtraction? Check back in October.