Debate Manny being Elsewhere with Jerry Crasnick
''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 NOWManager 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 2009Given 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 WALKFor 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 VERDICTA 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.
Jerry Crasnick (1:00 PM)
Hey guys, Nobody generates strong opinions like Manny. So let's get started.
Jerry Why in the world would the Mets not be interested in Manny, especially if the Sox would pick up the remainder of his salary?
Jerry Crasnick (1:03 PM)
Will, The Red Sox wouldn't be picking up the rest of his salary. The problem is, they need to get something in return that's going to help them compete this season. From all indications, I think the Mets are going to hang their hopes on Ryan Church overcoming his concussion issues. And Omar Minaya seems to have no interest in trading away Fernando Martinez, Jon Niese or his other top prospects for anyone. It's hard to see a fit here.
Ryan (Chicago, IL)
Why don't the Red Sox pick up his '09 option and then look to trade him? This way they could make sure he doesn't go to a team in the same divion or league. The Yankees did this with Gary Sheffield a few years ago.
Jerry Crasnick (1:04 PM)
Ryan, That's another possibility that I neglected to mention. One potential roadblock to picking up the option, then trying to deal him: Manny is a 10-and-5 service time guy, so he would have to give his consent to any deal. That definitely throws a monkey wrench into trade talks.
Lisa , boston ma
A lot of hard core manny fans have had enough . Should they trade him now ? No , but they should not pick up his option up for next year . This guy has shown no class what so ever this season , and lets faces all in boston ,it is just time for manny to move on .. let him become some one else problem ..
Jerry Crasnick (1:06 PM)
Lisa, I think the biggest problem is that Francona and some of his teammates, who have really tried to defend him and accept him for the lovable goofball he is, really seem to be emotionally spent with his antics. That's when you start wondering if he's reached the point of no return in Boston.
The redsox are the best team in the league, with or without Manny Ramirez. They have Youk, Ortiz, Lowell, and Drew (who stepped up in Ortiz's absence, so what makes you think he wouldn't do the same with Manny?) Plus if they received Burell and some great prospects they could still definitely win, and with a better chemistry I would say their chances are even better! I am a baseball man and I say WITH OR WITHOUT MANNY, THE REDSOX WIN THE WORLD SERIES (and I hate the Yankees because they stink!)
Jerry Crasnick (1:07 PM)
Jim, Good points all. I think you should write a column on it rather than big-footing my chat.
Zach (Detroit, MI)
If the Diamondbacks don't get Teixeira from the Braves, do you think they will/should deal for Manny seeing as they need a consistent bat?
Jerry Crasnick (1:09 PM)
Zach, The Diamondbacks have been mentioned as a potential suitor, but again, I'm not sure how the teams could make it fit. Boston would probably want Conor Jackson as part of the deal because of its need for a RH bat. And really, does Bob Melvin want to deal with Manny's antics anymore than Francona does? Also, Manny would be a defensive nightmare just about anywhere except Boston and Philly.
As a Yankees fan, I would just love the Red Sox to keep him for the rest of the season, let him walk, and have the Yankees pick him up. There would be nothing sweeter. Manny was born in NY, and the fans would love him. Abreu's option probably won't be pick up this year, so a Manny/A-Rod in the 3/4 spots would look very nice. Any chance on this happening?
Jerry Crasnick (1:11 PM)
Tim, I never rule out anything. I think a lot of it depends on Manny's price. If he's out on the open market, is Boras going to push for a four-year, $100 million deal? That would be a pretty tough sell, given that he's 36 years old and nothing great defensively. And if he quits on the Red Sox, he's not exactly enhancing his marketability.
Jon (Boston, MA)
Is there any chance the sox could move Manny to Colorado for Matt Holliday? I know the Rockies are not a large market team, but I would take Holliday's overall game any day.
Jerry Crasnick (1:12 PM)
Jon, If the Rockies are going to trade Matt Holliday, they're going to want 3-4 really good young players -- not a 36-year-old guy who'd be a defensive horror show in Coors Field.
Jerry, any chance the Phillies get their hand on a big bat or an ace by the trade deadline?
Jerry Crasnick (1:13 PM)
Danny, The Phillies seem to be focusing their efforts more on a LH reliever than another big bat. Jayson Stark is now mentioning KC's Ron Mahay as a possibility.
Assuming his option isn't picked up at the end of the year, who are the most likely candidates to sign him? Yankees? Mets? How much longer until he becomes a full time DH and will that be a deterant for NL teams? His (lack of) ability is greatly masked by how little ground he has to cover in left field at Fenway.
Jerry Crasnick (1:14 PM)
Jeremy, You're right -- the defense would seem to make an AL team seem like a more likely destination. The Yankees and Angels are a couple of teams that immediately spring to mind.
Ed H (London, UK)
Hi Jerry - I believe the Red Sox have to hang onto Ramirez for 2008, as they can't get rid of their best right-handed hitter whilst in a pennant race with the Rays & Yanks. That said, they are somewhat to blame for 'Manny being Manny' by turning a blind eye to his many indiscretions over the past few years instead of discipling him immediately ... surely the front office has to take some blame here?
Jerry Crasnick (1:16 PM)
Ed, Sure, the Red Sox have indulged Manny and his moods. But it's hard to argue with the production they've gotten out of him. He's been a driving force on two World Championship clubs. So whatever approach they've taken with him seems to have worked pretty well.
Dave Lawrenceville, NJ
How about keep him this year, pick up his option, then trade him. If he accepts the trade, the sox will at least get something for him - unlike Fisk, Lynn, Evans, Vaughn, Pedro, Clemens, Hurst, Burks, Etc...
Jerry Crasnick (1:17 PM)
Dave, One other thing about a trade: If the Sox pick up the $20 million option and everybody knows they have no interest in keeping him, doesn't that minimize their leverage and the potential return? Just saying ...
Manny has been this way for a long time going back to when he was with the Indians. What are the chances a team like the Dodgers getting in there and making some noise since they need a power bat like his.
Jerry Crasnick (1:19 PM)
Lou, The Dodgers seem to be focusing primarily on acquiring a shortstop (be it Jack Wilson, David Eckstein or whomever) by the deadline. Again, Manny would be a huge adventure playing LF for all those games in LA, San Diego and San Francisco. Plus, I imagine the Red Sox would want Matt Kemp as part of the deal, and the Dodgers still seem hesitant to move Kemp.
I know this is off-topic but do u see the Pirates making any more moves before the trade deadline
Jerry Crasnick (1:22 PM)
Chris, This is a Manny chat, so I'm going to stick to Manny. But if the Sox let Manny walk in the offseason, you wonder if Jason Bay wouldn't be a potential target as a replacement. He's pretty good, relatively affordable, the Pirates have expressed a willingness to talk about him, and Boston has plenty of prospects to make a deal like that work. Maybe Theo doesn't agree, but that makes some sense to me as a potential alternative this winter.
I love Manny. He's laid back, different. The media is all over manny because of this. I love the guy. He's a Yankee - Killer, and a fun guy to have on the team. His "antics" are a reminder that players are people too. He isn't fake or worried about his image. He just hits year after year and plays great D at Fenway. Pick up the option years!
Jerry Crasnick (1:23 PM)
Boston, Good to hear someone has some Manny love. I just think there's a cumulative effect to all the run-ins over the years. The Sox were willing to tolerate it when Manny was 32 and at the peak of his game. Now that he's 36 and getting closer to the end ... not so much.
The only reason I think you're right about option 3 is that Scott Boras is now in the picture. That guy can sniff a big pay day even if its hiding under Ramirez's smelly dreads. Someone, somewhere, is going to pay dearly for a near 40 year old batter with a winning club room personality.
Jerry Crasnick (1:25 PM)
Yal, I still haven't figured out Boras' role in all this. Supposedly he's been telling Manny to act professionally and "fulfill his obligation." But from what I understand, Boras doesn't collect any commission if the Sox pick up Manny's $20 million option -- which was negotiated by another agent. Boras has to love the thought of taking Manny out there, working his magic and finding a big deal for him with someone else.
Brandon (Gresham OR)
I think the Red Sox should keep for the end of the year. I know the sox have a lot of talent but we need a clutch hitter thus if the sox want to win another world series they should keep him. Now what they do with him after is debatable. They could either pick up the option and trade him to somewhere put of the division. There's no way a NL team will want him because he wont be able to DH. Or u just watch him float over to the Yankees and watch him destroy you. Or thy could keep him for 2009 and try to get one more year out of him.
Jerry Crasnick (1:28 PM)
Brandon, Ultimately, I think this is what will happen. It's just too tough a deal to pull off in two days -- especially since the Red Sox are always in "win now" mode and need to find a way to replace Manny's bat. One thing I thought about today that's interesting: Carlos Quentin and Luke Scott, two of the top 10 left fielders in the majors in OPS, were readily available last winter. If Theo and his front office team are as smart and "creative" as people say, maybe they can unearth a gem like that next winter.
Jer, I know you said the phils are looking into the LH from KC but if a trade does come up for Manny, what would the phils give up? and if so, do you think he'll give them the spark they need to start theyre second half tear?
Jerry Crasnick (1:31 PM)
Christian, I really don't get the Philly rumors, either. Supposedly Charlie Manuel has this great relationship with Manny and can put a stop to all his antics. That's hard to believe. As far as the names attached, I'm not sure if the Phils and Sox are supposed to just swap Manny and Pat Burrell, or if Philly is supposed to surrender its top catching prospect, Lou Marson. If that's the case, it doesn't fill Boston's immediate need for an impact bat.
Alex (Temperance, MI)
Jerry I'm a huge baseball fan and wonder why we talk about this every summer. But since we do I want to say he is my favorite player and is one of the best players in baseball. Since I am from Michigan I wonder why the struggling Tigers havent tried to get him. Couldnt they look to trade Pudge and his 12.5M now, let Inge catch, then let Sheff go at the end of the season to make the 20 million fit? I'd say its worth a shot. Give the Red Sox Thames (1 Hr every 10 Ab's) and some other talent in the system not named Porcello. Its a stretch but you think Dombroski is considering this?
Jerry Crasnick (1:32 PM)
Alex, The Tigers have too many pitching-related issues to consider bringing in another aging bat. Nice try, though.
John, syracuse, ny
Jerry, lets say if manny does get picked up by yanks I think him and girardi would clash, joe is old school and as you can see he's already making some nice changes with this team, I think girardi is trying to put a fiesty gutty personality on this team and next year things will look diffrent, I don't think manny would be a girardi type guy and I also think manny will get traded as the sox are not dumb enough to even think of the possibility of manny being a yank.
Jerry Crasnick (1:34 PM)
John, And if you think that Manny is a zoo in Boston, just imagine how he'd be with that NY media. The problem is, Manny is going to be unhappy and act loopy wherever he's playing as long as his financial future is uncertain. Why should it be any different in NY than it was in Boston?
Scott (Smithfield, NC)
What are the chances that if the Sawx don't trade him, he starts slacking off in games just to peeve them off? What could happen then?
Jerry Crasnick (1:36 PM)
Scott, If Manny does that, he's only killing his free agent value. There are enough concerns already about his makeup and his commitment. Given his age, who's going to invest in him long-term if he flat out quits on the Red Sox?
If Manny signed with the Yankees as a free agent would he be willing to cut his dreads, the guy is pretty unpredictable and always marches to his own drum?
Jerry Crasnick (1:37 PM)
Zack, Personally, I think if the Yankees gave him $100 million over four years, Manny would be willing to wear a tutu in left field. But that's just me.
jay Providence RI
Do you think if the sox pick up both options immediately and offer him a two year extension for 35-45 million is something either side would look at?
Jerry Crasnick (1:39 PM)
Jay, I don't see it happening for a couple of reasons: 1) Theo Epstein would be sending a pretty bad message by caving so quickly after taking such a hard line publicly; and 2) Manny is getting on in years, and the Sox don't want to lock themselves into that long a commitment. The franchise already has a big decision to make with Jason Varitek. That's more than enough.
Adam: (Boston, MA)
Trade Manny for Teixeira straight up and move Youk to left.
Satya ( N Carolina )
what do you think will happen to Mark Teixiera?
Jerry Crasnick (1:42 PM)
Satya, The Braves are very motivated to trade Tex, and I think they'll get it done. Personally, I see the Angels as a better fit than the Diamondbacks, although the media reports indicate otherwise. As far as a Manny-for-Teixeira deal, I don't know about that one. It might work for the Red Sox, but I think Atlanta is looking for some younger, longterm help.
Mike (Boston, MA)
In response to your answer to Scott's question about Manny dogging it to "Peeve off" the Sox. Do you think he will protect his market value by getting his act together for the rest of the year?
Jerry Crasnick (1:44 PM)
Mike, I wouldn't be shocked if that happens. Manny gets distracted easily, but once the deadline passes, this thing could very easily blow over for the final couple of months. In case you hadn't noticed, the national baseball media have a pretty short attention span.
Did you know they play baseball all across the country and not just in Boston and NY? It is really neat...
Jerry Crasnick (1:44 PM)
Jon, Actually, I watched that Cubs-Brewers game last night from start to finish. It was terrific.
Jerry you know that this is overblown. Peter Gammons is right to point out that Manny doesn't want to hurt his value by facing young fireballers but the Sox front office has cool heads. Sure they get frustrated with Manny but that's the type of person you often get when you spoil him with wealth after being raised in a fairly low income educational situation. Besides, I doubt Cashman buys CC, Texi and Manny next year. After the Sox win this WS and let him walk for 2 high draft picks from the Giants or Astros or Mariners if Bavasi was still around. Manny will fade into Mike Tyson's Bolivia.
Jerry Crasnick (1:47 PM)
Frank, When Theo initially made his "we're willing to trade him" proclamation, part of me wondered if the Sox just wanted to give Manny a wakeup call. But the sense I'm getting is that there's genuine frustration about Manny's hijinks in the clubhouse now. If he acts like a goofball, that's fine. But when he starts asking out of the lineup because he's in a snit, that really resonates with his teammates. Then it becomes a problem.
Jason (Scarsdale NY)
Please, please, please stop the 'Manny to the Yanks' stuff. Won't happen. Not this year, not next. Cashman likes to pass out big contracts, but no way he ante's up for Manny. Ever. And, for the record, I can't wait until the Sox deal him. I won't miss seeing him against the Yanks!
Jerry Crasnick (1:49 PM)
Jason, When the Yankees refused to go beyond a certain point for Johan Santana, it really did seem to indicate that they've gone beyond the "star" mentality. And given how well the team has played of late, there's less pressure on Cashman to just chase the biggest name. He clearly wants to think longterm and make the farm system a major piece of the puzzle.
I would prefer neither of those choices. Let him walk at the end of the season and get a first round draft choice and sandwich pick. Then fill the void over the off season. They wont be able to replace his production this year.
Jerry Crasnick (1:50 PM)
Greg, I may be wrong, but I don't think it works that way if the Red Sox decline to pick up Manny's option. You only get the draft picks if you offer salary arbitration to one of your free agents, and he turns it down to sign elsewhere.
If the sox dont trade Manny and dont pick up his option and let him go, what free agents will be avaliable, and what FA do you see the sox going after?
Jerry Crasnick (1:52 PM)
Nick, Adam Dunn, Pat Burrell, Jermaine Dye and Bobby Abreu are among the potential f.a. outfielders this winter. I'm not sure any of them fit. Maybe the Sox could try to swing a deal for Matt Holliday, but that would require a huge ransom in prospects. Again, a guy like Jason Bay seems to make more sense to me.
Kyle (South Korea now, Boston before)
Is there anyone out there (either in the farm or trade possibility) who can fill Manny's shoes? I can't see it. with Ortiz aging as well, are we looking forward to seeing some rebuilding years in Boston?
Jerry Crasnick (1:54 PM)
Kyle, Keith Law tells me that Lars Anderson and Josh Reddick have good power potential down the road, but they're a good couple of years away. It's awfully tough to develop a 30-homer, .900 OPS guy in your system. So the Sox will probably have to deal for someone in the short-term future.
Kevin, Indianapolis, IN
In your opinion Jerry, how many GOOD years does Manny even have left?
Jerry Crasnick (1:55 PM)
Kevin, The guy has a .900 plus OPS this year, so I think he still has 2-3 productive years in him. The question is, are they productive enough to justify the money that he (and Boras) think he's worth?
Chris B (Decatur, IL)
Like Giambi, do you derive your power from the mustache? Cardinals trade Bryan Anderson(C) Jess Todd(P) & player to be named later for Ramierez. Then trade Schumaker to someone in a deal for a reliever. 2 month rental, but cards then have 2-3-4-5-6 of Ludwick-Pujols-Manny-Ankiel-Glaus...sound good to you?
Jerry Crasnick (1:56 PM)
Chris, Always happy to take mustache related questions. Here's my question: Who the heck plays LF and bats cleanup for the Red Sox in August and September?
I'm reading elsewhere that the Sox and Dodgers are talking about Manny. Does a package of Matt Kemp and Andruw Jones do it?
Jerry Crasnick (1:58 PM)
Ben, As I mentioned earlier, the Dodgers are hesitant to trade Matt Kemp. They're fearful that he'll bust out and become a star somewhere else. As for Andruw Jones, you're joking, right?
Alex (San Pablo, CA)
There's no way in hell the Red Sox want Andruw Jones.
Jerry Crasnick (1:58 PM)
Alex, Thanks for backing me up, big guy.
Finish the season with Manny Win another world series and then go from there But I am sick of all this Manny being Manny crap also
Jerry Crasnick (1:59 PM)
J, Leave it to a fellow Maine-iac to insert some logic into the discussion. I think we're all tired of Manny. But we're at 2200 emails and counting on this chat, so the combination of 500 home runs and the non-stop soap opera is always going to make for some compelling conversation.
What could the Pirates get from Boston for Jason Bay? Because I don't see why the Pirates would give him up unless they get an incredible offer. He's already said he wants to finish his career in Pittsburgh so why trade him?
Jerry Crasnick (2:01 PM)
Joe, The price would be steep. Then again, we kept hearing that Pittsburgh would have to be "overwhelmed" to trade Nady and/or Marte, and look how that one turned out.
Rick (Richmond, VA)
Jerry - To your knowledge, has Francona or any of the red sox players come out and said anything negative about Manny?
Jerry Crasnick (2:03 PM)
Rick, No, I think Manny's teammates and manager are being very diplomatic in public, because nobody wants to back him into a corner and have it backfire. But I talked to someone today (who would know) who said Manny's act is definitely getting tired. And if you read Peter Gammons' piece, it's not too hard to read between the lines and see that Manny is wearing that team out.
Bob ( Charlotte, NC)
What I don't understand is why the clubhouse isn't policing itself. If Tek is more than a captain in name only, this situation should resolve itself internally. If the players aren't applying the right amount of pressure... what does it say about them?
Jerry Crasnick (2:05 PM)
Bob, I think it says this guy is really one of a kind. Manny's teammates really admire his skill and hitting acumen, and I think they like him personally. But he really does act like a 12-year-old boy at times. I think it's hard for him to compartmentalize certain issues -- like the uncertainty surrounding his contract -- and concentrate solely on what takes place on the field. He's just not built that way.
Vince (South Dakota)
Any truth to the rumor involving a three way trade with the Sox getting Dunn, Cubs get Manny, and the Reds getting prospects from the Cubs?
Jerry Crasnick (2:06 PM)
Vince, No, I hadn't heard that one. I think I have a better chance of being named commissioner than that one coming to fruition.
Jerry Crasnick (2:08 PM)
Thanks for the great emails, everybody. It's always great to talk about Manny. And in case you didn't notice, I don't think I used the phrase "Manny being Manny" even once. That deserves a gold star, right? Enjoy the trade deadline, and we'll do it again soon.