Thursday, July 31, 2008

It was time to say good-bye to Manny Ramirez:

To Red Sox
Jason Bay

To Dodgers
Manny Ramirez

To Pirates
Craig Hansen (Relief pitcher, from Red Sox)
Brandon Moss (Outfielder, from Red Sox)
Andy LaRoche (Third baseman, from Dodgers)
Bryan Morris (Double-A pitcher, from Dodgers)

Bay is a two-time All-Star who owns a career .376 on-base percentage and a .282 lifetime batting average. He's hitting .282 with 22 homers and 64 RBIs this season. The British Columbia native and Gonzaga graduate was the NL Rookie of the Year in 2004, when he hit .282 with 26 homers and 82 RBIs. In 2005, he hit .306 with 32 homers, 101 RBIs and stole 21 bases. In 2006, he established career-highs in homers (35) and RBI (109). Last year, he again led the struggling Pirates in homers (21) and RBIs (84). Bay has one year left on a four-year, $18.25-million deal he signed in 2005. He is due $5.75 million this year and $7.5 million in 2009.

Ramirez, the MVP of the 2004 World Series, remains one of baseball's best hitters and has enjoyed plenty of big moments in October. But his relationship with the Red Sox soured -- again -- in recent months, prompting the All-Star outfielder to agree to the deal. According to SI.com, Ramirez agreed to sign off on any deal with the contingency that the team agree not to exercise the option years -- at $20 million per season -- on his contract. Ramirez will be a free agent at the end of the season.

But for now, Manny can be Manny on the West Coast.


I love Manny, but it's clear his antics were sapping the Sox morale. I won't miss Craig Hansen, but Moss was a good player. Time for the Sox to get to work.

UPDATE: Dan Kennedy disagrees with the local radio jocks that the Sox gave up too much to let Manny go:
I've been listening to WEEI Radio (AM 850) on and off for the last hour, and it seems that one early theme has emerged: it was time for Manny Ramírez to go, but the Red Sox gave up too much.

But did they? I don't think so. Clearly they weren't going to get equal value, because the whole world knew that the Sox were trying to dump Ramírez. Even so, they did pretty well — financially, too, despite their agreeing to pay Manny's salary for the rest of the season.

Let's start with the money. The Dodgers get Ramírez for free for the final two months of the year, as the Red Sox have agreed to pay the $7 million he's still owed. Jason Bay makes $7.5 million a year, and the Sox will have to pay him for the rest of the season, or about $2.5 million. So, in essence, they're paying $9.5 million to have a left fielder for August and September (and, let's hope, October). That's a lot of money.

But turn that around. Bay is under contract for next year — again, at $7.5 million. Up until a few weeks ago, it seemed possible that the Sox would pick up Manny's option for next year, which would have cost $20 million. Manny turns 37 next May. Bay will be 30. Given that differential, there's a good chance that Bay will put up numbers as good as Ramírez next year, and at one-third the cost. And the Sox may be able to sign Bay to a long-term contract at far less than they would have paid to keep Manny around.

So the Sox will take a hit for two months this year, but will benefit hugely next year and perhaps beyond.

As for the prospects, well, Craig Hansen has been a monumental bust, and that's putting it mildly. If he's ever going to succeed, it's not going to be here. He needs a fresh start somewhere else. Pittsburgh will be a nice, quiet place for him to develop. It's only a slight exaggeration to say the Sox were lucky to find a way to get rid of him.
I agree.

No comments: