Friday, August 1, 2008

Welcome to LA, Manny!

Okay, look.

I get that Manny Ramirez is far more than his .299 BA, 20 HR and 68 RBIs. He is far more than an absolutely dominating plate presence who makes the opposing pitcher more than a little uncomfortable every time he steps into the box. He’s more than the power hitter the Dodgers have been searching for with very little success for years and the likely missing piece that will help push the Dodgers into October.

I’m honestly not sure that I care.

Manny loves Manny. He’s a lazy left-fielder, indulged by the Green Monster. When he’s unhappy, he acts like a petulant child. Ask any Red Sox fan about the half-assed jogs to first, the seemingly-intentional strike outs and his imaginary “knee problem” and I’m sure they’ll be happy to speak their mind about what a headache Manny has become. For a notoriously rabid, loyal fan base that was hearts-in-their-eyes, over-the-moon in love with him…that’s saying quite a lot.

I won’t excuse Manny’s behavior, especially since I’m a big believer (especially when you’re being paid millions of dollars to play a game) in professionalism above all else. However, a change of scenery might do him a lot of good.

Manny says bye-bye to Boston.

That’s what I’m hoping, anyway, since as of 1pm yesterday, Manny Ramirez became a Dodger. In a move that sent shockwaves through the baseball world, the world of ESPN and the world of my office, Ramirez became the latest Dodger two-month rental in a three team trade with Boston and Pittsburgh.

The Pirates sent outfielder Jason Bay to Boston, and Boston and the Dodgers each sent two minor leaguers to Pittsburgh (outfielder Brandon Moss and RHP Craig Hansen, and 3B Andy LaRoche and RHP Bryan Morris, respectively). The Red Sox will pay the remaining $7 million left on Manny’s contract, and both the Dodgers and Scott Boras, Manny’s agent, agreed to waive the 2009 and 2010 options on his contract, each for $20 million. That means Manny will be a free agent at the end of the year and I’m sure several GMs are already drooling over the possibility of landing him for the 2009 season. Of course, such a thing won’t come cheap. Not when you have Manny’s ego and Boras’ money-grubbing to contend with.

Will Bay be a big hit in Beantown?

There’s no doubt that the Dodgers got the best end of this deal, at least in the short run. Manny was basically free; LaRoche has consistently underperformed during the two years the team gave him to prove himself at a big league level, and it’s too early to really say if and how badly the departure of Morris will be felt. The Red Sox got rid of their biggest headache and replaced Ramirez with Bay, who is comparable (at least in numbers alone) to Manny, 7 years younger and significantly lighter in the baggage department. The Sox also have a much better chance of hanging on to Bay than the Dodgers do with Manny. The Pirates held a fire sale before the trade deadline…who knows what they were thinking, really…but it’s definitely notthe best way to secure your first winning record since 1992.

There are a lot of question marks surrounding Manny’s arrival in LA today, but I can tell you this…I am ridiculously excited (so much so that I can hardly contain myself) to see him don Dodger Blue and step up to the plate against Randy Johnson tonight.


Jaime said...

The general consensus around here is "Good Riddance", which makes me kinda sad but I totally understand. Manny has been such a pain in the ass for the last couple months and certainly the last couple weeks that it's a relief as a fan to have the headache gone. On the other hand, I do love Manny the Baseball Player, and will miss watching him with the Sox. I hope the change is what he needs, and he performs well for your Dodgers.

You were the first person I thought of when I heard he was heading to LA. :)

MikeLA said...

This is pretty cool stunt ESPN did to welcome Manny

mike h. said...

I would like to say one thing: Boston media is incapable of letting any sports star leave this town without running a major smear campaign that paints them as giant babies for wanting to leave the organization, unless they want to retire. They can't just let people go play for other teams without making them the "enemy." They did it to Clemens, to Pedro Martinez, hell, even Derek Lowe was heavily criticized. If they've contributed at all, they just get torn down. It's a real shame. Some players do vent their feelings in front of the media and that's never a good idea, but the Boston media in particular lets their emotions get in the way of solid reporting all the time. If Manny had been coming from any other team, there wouldn't have been any issue.