Debate Manny being Elsewhere with Jerry Crasnick

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Welcome to The Show! On Tuesday, ESPN.com senior MLB writer Jerry Crasnick will drop by at 1 p.m. ET for another installment of "That's Debatable," a weekly feature in which we break down a hot topic you have suggested.

Tuesday's topic, courtesy of Eric from Pittsburgh, PA.:

''What you would do if you were in Theo Epstein/Red Sox management/ownership's position in dealing with Manny Ramirez?''

At last check, Peter Gammons' ESPN.com piece on Ramirez had generated 12,135 views on the Sons of Sam Horn Web site forum. So it's fair to say this is a hot-button issue among Red Sox diehards.

What are the possibilities?

TRADE HIM NOW

Manager Terry Francona and Ramirez's teammates have gone to great lengths to tolerate his behavior in the past, because they know how important he is to the club's success. But when Ramirez starts missing games because he's in a snit over his financial future, it's a problem. As Ramirez so succinctly put it, ''I'm tired of them, they're tired of me.'' The Phillies, Mets, Dodgers and Diamondbacks are clubs that could use Ramirez's bat to distinguish themselves from the pack down the stretch. This would be a tough trade to pull off in the days before the deadline, but it's not as if there's a nonexistent market.

KEEP HIM AND PICK UP HIS $20M OPTION FOR 2009

Given the current climate of hostility, there's no way this happens in the next few days. But suppose, for sake of argument, that the deadline comes and goes with Ramirez still in a Boston uniform. If Ramirez comes to grips with his situation, plays with a sense of urgency, puts up an 1.100 OPS in August and September and leads Boston to its third World Championship in five years, could it be enough to paper over the hard feelings and perpetuate his relationship with the Sox?

HANG ONTO HIM FOR THE REST OF THIS SEASON, DECLINE THE OPTION, AND ALLOW HIM TO WALK

For all Ramirez's issues, Albert Pujols might be the only guy in baseball that you'd rather have up there in a big situation. The Red Sox are always in win-now mode, and the chances of the team winning in 2008 are significantly reduced without Ramirez's bat in the lineup. So the Sox keep him through this season, then politely tell him to take a hike in the offseason.

THE VERDICT

A trade seems unlikely for two reasons: The Red Sox need Ramirez's bat if they want to try to win in 2008. And if Manny is having trouble staying focused amid the financial uncertainty in Boston, wouldn't that be just as big an issue in his next destination? Potential suitors are probably smart enough to realize that.

As for Option 2, anything is possible. But given the harsh rhetoric making the rounds, Charlie Sheen and Denise Richards probably stand a better chance of getting back together than the Sox and Manny do of perpetuating their union.

Which leads us to the most likely course of action: The Red Sox keep Ramirez, hope he's gripped by a sudden fit of maturity over the next two months and realizes it's in his best interests to play hard and produce. Then the Sox decline his option and: a) funnel some of that $20 million into Pat Burrell, Jermaine Dye or another free agent; or b) dig into their deep well of prospects and make a trade. We always hear how ''creative'' Theo Epstein and his front office team are. This is a great opportunity to prove it.

What do you think? Feel free to pass along your opinions. That's why we're here.


Every week, we'll give you the topic and then we'll have one of our writers stopping by to debate the issue with you. To suggest a topic for "That's Debatable," go here. Or check out the full archive.

Crasnick Archive: Chats | Columns

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