Friday, December 02, 2005

Manny Being Manny...But Where?

The uniform of Manny Ramirez in 2006?

So it’s early December. The Winter Meetings start in 3 days. The Sox still don’t have a GM, but that seems to be less important now – the Gang of 4 (with Lucchino behind the scenes?) goes and captures good acquisitions with ease, making the panicky amongst us (yours truly included) think that maybe 2006 won’t be a loss after all. Joining the fold most recently is young Jermaine Van Buren, picked up from the Cubs for a song and joining the group of promising young hard-throwing pitchers (Papelbon, Hansen, Lester, Beckett) who make up the Red Sox pitching hopes and dreams for at least the next two years.

Johnny Damon is still a free agent, but since Scott Boras seems to think that it makes sense for a major league baseball team to sign a 32 year old centerfielder to a 7 year deal, there doesn’t seem to be much interest in the Man Who Would Be Jesus outside of Boston, to the point where hasn’t printed a rumor about Damon since Tuesday. Moving on.

The other big question mark, the one who may make the difference between a championship run and a rebuilding year for Boston is, of course, Manny Ramirez. The right-handed half of the deadly run scoring combo of Manny Ortez has made no attempt to hide that he wants out of Boston, much to the chagrin of many in RSN. But what do you try and get for one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball, especially when he has his own preferences on where to go? We re-cap our favorite rumors:

Manny, David Wells and Keith Foulke to Los Angeles for Eric Gagne, Jeff Kent and J.D. Drew
Robin’s current favorite of the supposed trades. On the plus side, the Sox pick up a good young closer, a good right fielder and avoid dealing with any problems with Keith Foulke next year, plus they move Manny out of the AL, where he’ll be much less of a danger to the Sox. They also get Jeff Kent, who wears out his welcome wherever he goes after a year, no matter how well he plays. It doesn’t make sense for a couple of reasons, of course: why would the Dodgers exchange a good closer for one who’s coming off of surgery and take a pitcher who’s within a year of retiring and why would the Sox want Kent when they can get similar value from Graffanino without the chemistry problems?

Manny to Los Angeles for Ervin Santana, Garret Anderson and a boatload of prospects
One of Manny’s favored locations. A reconstruction of the conversation between the Gang of 4 and Angels GM Bill Stoneman:

Gang of 4: So Bill, what do you think? Manny would be a much better foil to Vlad than Garrett Anderson and he’s not injury prone. Just toss in that Santana guy and a few pitchers and you’ve got yourself a deal – it’s great for you!
Bill Stoneman: [making snorting noises]
Gang of 4: …umm...? Bill? You still there?
Bill Stoneman: Sorry, I just laughed so hard milk squirted out of my nose. You guys got a serious offer? Because otherwise I’m a busy guy…
Gang of 4: But Bill, this deal is great for you guys. Just look at all of the runs Manny’s scored…
Bill Stoneman: Look, guys, a joke’s a joke, but I’ve got things to do.
Gang of 4: Bill, we don’t understand what the problem is. We’ve got a great deal here for you.
Bill Stoneman: Right. Could you guys do me a favor and not call here again? Thanks.

Manny to Seattle for ?
Another Manny preference. I think he was just laughing at us when he came with that one; who is Seattle going to give up?

Manny to New York for prospects
Except that while the Mets want Manny, they want Lastings Milledge even more.

Manny to Philadelphia for Bobby Abreu
Nice thought, although it would eliminate Big Papi’s protection in the lineup – Abreu’s left-handed. As my buddy over at’s baseball site said, though, there’s absolutely no good reason why Philly would want to do this deal – Manny’s got an additional year on his contract, is owed about $29 million more and hasn’t mentioned wanting to go to Philadelphia anyway. Also, a “high placed Phillies source” found the idea laughably ludicrous, saying the Phillies are concentrating on finding pitching. Maybe someone in the Sox Front Office heard him – the rumors have now shifted to Matt Clement and Trot Nixon for Abreu, which makes a bit more sense for Philadelphia and wouldn’t be half bad of a deal for Boston.