Friday, August 1, 2008

More Thoughts on Manny.



I still cannot believe that the next time the Sox come to the Stadium Manny will not be there. The best way I can put it is that it is a huge relief. Anway, the Sox got absolutely taken on this deal. In the end Boston traded Manny Hansen and Moss for Jason Bay. No one in their right mind would make that trade (enter Tijuana whore house and Tony Reagins). I understand the Red Sox have had enough with Manny being Manny, but they had to either give up less or get more in return for one of the best 3 right handed hitters of this era. That being said lets go to the numbers.

Manny Ramirez's average line is .312/.409/.590 with 40 HR 132 RBI and an OPS+ of 154. Jason Bay's average is .281/.375/.515 with 31HR 102RBI and an OPS+ of 130. Clearly, Manny is past his prime and Bay is in the peak of his career so Manny's numbers are not going to end up at his career average while Bay's numbers are. That being said, Bay will have more RBIs hitting in the potent lineup of the Red Sox. In the end however, who would you rather have up in a big spot down the stretch or in the playoffs, Manny Ramirez or Jason Bay? That's an easy question and if you say Jason Bay then stop being interested in baseball. Also, while Bay may have more RBIs by simply hitting in a better lineup, how is he going to play in Boston where games actually matter. In Pittsburgh no matter what Bay did he would be looked at as far and away the best player on his team (until this year where it is McClouth). Now, in Boston, he is just another above average player who HAS to perform. You could make the argument that Bay is now in Fenway Park where he might morph into a Mike Lowell type player who hits tons of doubles off the green monster. That seems like something that could happen, but he is still not Manny. In addition to all the offensive talk, what has been lost is how well Manny played the green monster and left field at Fenway. Manny, an assclown in any other ballpark, was phenomenal at Fenway. I think the reason for this is Fenway allows for a very lazy LF to be played as long as you play it smart. Manny always seemed to be in the right place (especially when he made that diving cutoff on the throw by Damon a few years back, still the most athletic thing Manny has ever done) when at Fenway and it clearly took him longer than 2 months to learn how to play there. This makes Bay a downgrade on offense as well as defense (at home, definitely not on the road). It's not a huge point, but it is something to think about that no one has even mentioned.

On to the part that I am personally the happiest about. Manny's numbers against the Yankees were beyond outstanding. In 200 games vs. the Yankees (both with Cleveland and Boston) Ramirez put up a stat line of .321/.411/.618 with 55HR 163RBI and an OPS of 1.029. I know that you cant in any way compare that with Jason Bay since Manny has played almost 3x as many games against the Yankees than Bay has played against any team, however, there is no way Bay is going to put up those numbers against the Yanks. How do you trade the player who has routinely pounded your fiercest competitor?


I know that the Sox were tired of Manny's antics, but they have endured 8 years of it and they can't last another 2 months? I mean honestly, in the offseason you could probably trade for Bay for Hansen, Moss and one other solid young player. Personally, I'm tired of hearing how much the Red Sox hated Manny. They didnt hate him when he won the 2004 World Series MVP, they didn't hate him when he hit the walk-off HR against K-Rod last year, but in the middle of a tight 3 team pennant race they decide enough is enough??? I'm sorry but they need to swallow their pride for 2 months and try to repeat as World Series champions.


Another issue is what this does to the Red Sox lineup. Taking Manny out of the lineup and adding Bay severely undercuts the strength of this team. Is it any wonder as to why 2 years ago Ortiz went cold as soon as Manny went down? Or why when J.D. Drew was put into the 3 slot he magically hit a lot better? Or why Mike Lowell had 120 RBIs last year when he only had 100+ twice before? IT'S BECAUSE MANNY WAS IN THE LINEUP. This is not quantum physics people, Manny is a feared hitter and makes every body around him better by simply being in the lineup. Even if he goes 0-4 the 3 hitter still gets a lot better pitches to swing at purely because Manny hits behind them. Who hits 4th now? My guess would be Lowell while Bay hits 5th and Youk 2nd, but who knows. Youk is a hot head and maybe the Sox have had enough of his antics as well.


Bottom line is the Red Sox HAD to get more for Manny. I don't care how badly they wanted to trade him, the Red Sox are an organization who expect to win NOW and are 3 games back in the AL East. They need Manny , and if they were going to trade him they needed to pry an extra bat or better yet, an arm for their desperate bullpen from either the Pirates or Dodgers. Don't get me wrong, I was pissed when they got Gagne last year and we all know how poorly that one turned out even though they still won it all. Bay looks like a downgrade, but teams aren't judged by the trades they make just the games they win.


Yanks got killed tonight and they are probably going to get swept by an Angels team that shouldn't even have to play the rest of the season and should go straight to the playoffs. It's okay though, those 3 games at the end of the season in Boston will be somewhat less stressful without Manny there.




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