At The Ballyard ... with Steve Weissman

Friday, February 03, 2006

Manny: Westward Ho? No Go!

– Sox Make Silly-Expensive Offer to Angels –

The Los Angeles Times this morning is reporting that the Red Sox have reconnected with the Angels regarding a possible trade of left fielder Manny Ramirez. According to the paper, the Sox have asked the Angels for ace-in-the-making Ervin Santana, super utilityman Chone Figgins, two or three of LA/Anaheim’s top four prospects, and the total transfer of Ramirez’s contract, on which three seasons and some $57 million remain. The Angels, needless to say, have not jumped at the chance to make this deal. [In fact, they very quickly declined the offer. – SW]

There no doubt that the quid pro quo for Manny must be a hefty package of value – he’s baseball’s premier producer of home runs and RBIs, and the decision to move him out should be carefully considered even though his periods of unhappiness and inattention sometimes cause pandemics of indigestion. However, it seems to this observer that the offer the Sox just presented is over the top, and has no chance of going through.

Face it: Manny isn’t really worth four or five players and the GNP of a small, developing nation, except maybe to a team that already has loads of offensive talent – and this, the Angels aren’t. Sticking a bat like his into a power-short lineup only begs the opposition to issue an intentional walk every time Ramirez comes up in an important scoring situation. Protecting him, therefore, is key to ensuring his continued success. Put it this way: Manny is most valuable when he hits in the middle of an already-powerful lineup – at that’s exactly the situation he enjoyed first in Cleveland and now in Boston.

Like as not, the Angels and the Red Sox both know this, and know the proposal was floated primarily to demonstrate to Ramirez that efforts are still being made to honor his request to be traded. But let’s be serious: the list of teams whose rosters and payrolls are best suited to take Ramirez on is a short one, and the teams on that list already have taken multiple passes. Sorry, Manny, but it seems you’re on the Red Sox for this year and probably next year as well. So, welcome back, again!

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