It’s once again come to that time of the year where the Dodgers make their annual call to the Red Sox about superstar slugger, Manny Ramirez. Manny announced, for the umpteenth time, that he would like to be traded from the Red Sox and doesn’t really care where he goes (at least, that’s what he’s saying now). What puzzles me is the fact that Manny has said he will only waive his no-trade clause if his new team agrees NOT to pick up his $20 million option for next season. Sure, most players want the security of a long-term deal and don’t want to be playing for consecutive one-year deals…but there’s no way that Manny will make $20 million per year in free agency.
The fact that Manny is even in this position is all because of Manny’s selfishness or his former agent’s (Jeff Moorad, currently with the D-backs) bravado, depending on who you listen to. Manny originally signed a $160 million deal the year A-Rod signed his deal for $250 million with the Rangers. In order to make his contract look like it was nearly as big as A-Rod’s, Manny or his former agent (depending on who you listen to) insisted that the team add 2 option years worth $20 million each to bring the potential value of his contract to $200 million, rather than $160 million. Because of that, Manny now finds himself in a predicament. IF the Sox do pickup his contract, he’ll be forced to play for consecutive one year contracts which will take away any long-term security that he probably deserves. If the Sox don’t pick up the options on his contract, there’s no way any other team will pay him anything close to the $20 million per year that he would’ve received from his option years. He (or his former agent) managed to shoot himself in the foot all because of ego and greed and now it’s coming back to bite him.
Now, back to the Dodgers. According to Boston insiders, the Dodgers were one of four teams to contact the Sox about Manny yesterday. The Dodgers have been trying to acquire Manny ever since former Red Sox manager, Grady Little, was at the helm. Undoubtedly, Joe Torre understands what Manny brings to the table and would probably do a backflip to get him in the middle of the order. It would sure make his job a lot easier (in that respect at least). It’s no secret that Manny can put up huge numbers with his eyes closed. That would not be a problem at all. The concern with bringing Manny to LA would be just that…bringing Manny to LA. You think he acts up in Boston? Just wait until he’s under the bright lights of Hollywood. LA loves drama and there’s never a shortage of it when it comes to Manny. Considering how pathetic the Dodger offense has been, I’m pretty sure Torre would be willing to deal with whatever headache comes along with a .300/40/120 hitter in the middle of the lineup.
The question now comes down to return. What do the Red Sox expect to get in return and what can the Dodgers afford to offer. It’s seems pretty self explanatory that the Sox would want to be able to replace the production lost in one way or another. Of course, they won’t be getting a player like Manny back in return but they could get a package of young players who can contribute across the board. For example, if the Dodgers could get some kind of assurances that Manny would resign with the team, a package consisting of OF Andre Ethier (to replace Manny), reliever Cory Wade (for the bullpen) and top catching prospect Lucas May (to eventually replace Varitek), the Sox would have a hard time refusing. However, it wouldn’t make much sense to send quality players like that away if there is no guarantee that Manny will be with the club for longer than a couple of months. If we could sign him to an extension (say 5 years or so), then this would easily be a deal I’d consider. Due to his age and condition, he’d be a liability in the field but still would create enough runs to make him a + player.
To be perfectly honest, I’d love to see Man-Ram in the middle of the Dodgers lineup for years to come but highly doubt it will happen. If the Sox are really that upset with him and don’t plan on resigning him, why not wait him out and sign him in free agency and only pay two draft picks instead of 2-3 quality, major league-ready players? If I had to guess and if history is any sort of an indicator, I’d bet that Manny won’t be going anywhere before the trade deadline. Then again, the problem with trading Manny in the past was always his massive contract. Now that his contract is more reasonable, this may finally be the year in which the Red Sox trade Manny Ramirez. Imagine that…