Trade Manny to Who?

I’ve said that I still believe that Manny Ramirez is still a highly valuable player. But Manny managed to do it again, and this might be the one that broke the Manny’s back. After being cleared by team doctors to play, he pulled himself out of the lineup with a sore knee. The Sox clubhouse was closed to the media, and after a team meeting, Manny was back in the lineup. Turns out he would have faced a team suspension if he had not played yesterday. Theo Epstein told Tim McCarver yesterday before the game that if Manny Ramirez is willing to waive his 10-5 no-trade rights, he would try to deal Ramirez before the deadline. All of this adds up to some bad juju for the long-time Sox slugger.

Pause. Jaws drop. Did he just say he’d trade Manny Ramirez? Some have argued that Ramirez is doing all this to get out of town. But if he wants to be traded where he wants to go and get paid what he wants to get paid, this is not the way to do it. This is also not the way to get the Sox to sign him for two more years and $40M. If his goal is to stay in Boston, Ramirez already has the right to veto any trade, so this basically amounts to him being a mental midget and an emotional toddler.

For what it’s worth, Manny has said he’s open to a trade. With all the PR fallout, is there anyone who’d want him?

  • The Mets. They’ve been looking for a replacement for Moises Alou for a while now, but haven’t been able to land anyone of significance. I’m sure fellow Dominican and former teammate Pedro Martinez would push hard for Ramirez. They do have prospect Fernando Martinez as a big trade chip.
  • The Phillies. If the Mets are in the hunt, you know the Phillies are too. Manager Charlie Manuel is good friends with Manny from his Indians days. Some have suggested that they Phils could send a package centered around Pat Burrell back to the Sox. Philadelphia has young catcher Lou Marson to offer and not much else in their farm system.
  • The Diamondbacks. With Eric Byrnes out for the year and Chad Tracy battling injuries, Arizona could be interested in dealing for Ramirez. GM Josh Byrnes (formerly of Boston’s front office) is certainly familiar with Manny, and knows what it takes to handle him, and the Dbacks have plenty of young talent left to deal from. I would love the Sox to land someone like Conor Jackson and a good reliever.
  • The Dodgers. This would be an interesting one, uniting Manny and Joe Torre. The NL West could easily be decided by a team willing to add a bat like Ramirez, so LA has to consider it. They could offer back Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier, plus another top prospect, maybe Andy LaRoche.
  • The Angels. Manny has indicated in the past that he’d like to play out West in nicer weather, the Angels are in serious need of firepower, and owner Art Moreno loves Latino stars. But if they’ve put Juan Rivera in the doghouse for what he’s done, I don’t think they’d want Ramirez coming into their clubhouse. This would only happen if they can get him for next to nothing, and the Sox certainly wouldn’t want to see Manny in the other dugout come ALCS time.

It’s strange for the Red Sox to be sellers at this point in the season, but Manny’s recent antics have precipitated this latest attempt to unload him. You can bet that a trade of Ramirez would be followed immediately by a trade for a right-handed slugging outfielder, perhaps Adam Dunn or Burrell.

Some have suggested that the Sox would waive or even cut Ramirez at this point. I don’t agree. Waiving him would give you more leverage, since he’d be tradeable even after the deadline; however you risk a team like the Mets scooping him up and leaving you without a left fielder. I think releasing him is out of the question; that’s still $7M of salary to eat, and you’d be paying him to play against you. The Sox could throw in a lot of cash to make the deal sweeter for a more cash-strapped team, however.

Theo is not a dummy. He’s not going to give up perhaps the best-hitting left fielder in the AL for nothing. As always, he’s going to check out the market, evaluate and look to get good return value. Manny (read: Scott Boras) has already asked that the acquiring team decline his two options, so that he can go to free agency this offseason. This is asking a lot of any trading partner, so things could easily stay status quo. I doubt any of these teams would be so desperate as to pay Epstein’s price for Manny, but you just never know…


3 Responses to Trade Manny to Who?

  1. redsoxtalk says:

    The more I think about it, I think Manny’s antics are meant to irk the Sox fans and brass, so that they do not pick up his options and he becomes a free agent. I know he initially wanted Boston to pick up both years, but I’m convinced he’s changed his mind.

    Why? Scott Boras just became Manny’s agent this year, and he’s looking for a payday. If the Sox use the preexisting options on Manny, Boras doesn’t get a cent. However, if he signs a shiny new contract (here or otherwise), Boras makes off like a bandit.

    I’m sure he’s convinced Manny that the best thing for him is not to rely on two one-year options that give the Sox all the power. He’s locked in for the Hall of Fame, and his Boston legacy is set; it’s time to get paid one last time. One way or another (trade or not), he wants Ramirez to go to free agency. Ramirez’ numbers are good enough that he will get a guaranteed three-year deal worth more than the $40M he could potentially make in Boston with the options.

    I’m not saying Boras is orchestrating anything; these antics are not really a good way to get a big contract. But he’s certainly not discouraging Manny from being extra Manny this year.

  2. Pat says:

    One thing that is bad about this is it is disrupting the team chemistry. I know Manny mentioned that the atmosphere is weird in the clubhouse right now. When Gammons spoke with Ortiz after the game last night, he asked David about the Manny situation. Ortiz looked a little uncomfortable and said that he needed to talk to Manny. It seemed obvious that he wanted Manny to just play and stay with the Sox, but I might just be projecting.

    Ideally, I want Manny to stay with the Sox, but I understand a little better why they might want to trade him. This could be their best chance to get a good and immediate return from Manny. It wouldn’t hurt as bad losing Ramirez if we replaced him with Burrell, Dunn, or Jackson.

    If we plan on making it to and through the play offs, I would hope they wouldn’t give up Manny without a good replacement left fielder.

  3. redsoxtalk says:

    One correction, according to Rob Bradford:

    Boras does make 5% commission on the option years, even though he didn’t negotiate them.

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