Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Theo For A Day - Shopping Manny

Last week, when the Red Sox put Manny Ramirez on waivers, the reasons for doing so seemed singular, and clear: it was an attempt to clear salary space. But in the following days, stories broke about Manny asking to be dealt, and teammates of Manny's relayed private conversations in which Manny expressed his unhappiness with the Boston Experience. It became a complete media assault on all things Manny, as his previous indiscretions were also brought up, and a very real anger at one of the best hitters in baseball boiled over.

Now it seems clear that the bridges are burned. Sure, the next manager (Glenn Hoffman?!) could play an "Us against the World" card in Spring Training, but it seems more likely that management will try to make everyone happy and move Manny, at almost any cost. With all of that in mind, the question becomes this:

How will the Red Sox trade Manny Ramirez, and what will it cost them?

Every team in baseball had a chance to take Manny and his contract and passed, so now we know that in order for a deal to be made, the receiving team must be able to unload some salary on the Sox. Every team with the slightest interest in acquiring Manny is going over all of their worst contracts right now, and trying to figure out just how many of them the Sox will take off of their hands in order to solve what has become a Manny Problem.

So, what kind of team is likely to be involved in a Manny deal? I think it's safe to say that it would be a team with big, ugly contracts of their own to dump, and one that would be capable of taking on a substantial amount of salary. Let's assume it's not the Yankees, because a deal of this proportion would be the biggest thing since Babe Ruth. Who's left? Here are some scenarios that I think are at least possible. Please keep in mind that this is just for fun. If you have some ideas of your own feel free to send them over.
All contract information comes from MLB Contracts.


1. The New York Mets

Manny Ramirez and a minor leaguer for Tom Glavine, Cliff Floyd, and Mo Vaughn.

I love this one. Combined, the Mets trio makes 60.5 million over the next three years, meaning that the Mets would only have to pay for the last two years of Manny's contract. The Mets get a leftfielder who is twice the player that Floyd is, and a better health risk. They get to finally save face on the Mo Vaughn contract, and they get out from under one of the last bad contracts of the previous regime. The Mets also get a low A-ball prospect to help out with their rebuilding program. The Sox get a very expensive lefthanded starter (Glavine finished 38th out of 48 NL pitchers who qualified for the ERA title)with local roots who can fill in at the back of the rotation, another bat for the outfield, and can even mend some fences by bringing Mo back for some community work.


2. Los Angeles Dodgers

Manny Ramirez and a minor leaguer for Shawn Green, Darren Dreifort, and Todd Hundley.

Combined, the three Dodgers make 66.5 million over the next two years, a huge amount. Because of this, The Dodgers actually get to save money in the short term. Green has become a disappointment, and Dreifort hasn't been healthy in a while, throwing only 155 innings the last two years. The Red Sox get an outfielder who might benefit from returning to a hitter's park, and are willing to gamble on Dreifort. They take the short term hit in order to be free and clear in two years.


3. Cincinnati Reds

Manny Ramirez for Ken Griffey Jr. and Danny Graves

The Reds aren't a team that is likely to take on payroll, but Griffey and Graves are still owed 79 million, 66.5 just from Ken. It only costs the Reds 21 mil to add Manny to Kearns and Dunn for five years. The Sox gamble on Junior, who can be put at DH or Fenway's left field if and when he's healthy, and Graves, who was a talented reliever for many years but was awful out of the rotation, finishing 47th out of 48 NL pitchers who qualified for the ERA title.


Colorado Rockies

Manny Ramirez for Larry Walker and Denny Neagle

Walker and Neagle will make a combined 54 million over the next two years, so the Rockies would actually benefit financially over that time period. Walker will be 37 next season, and had only an .898 OPS playing in Coors. Neagle was expensive, terrible, and hurt, 7 games and a 7.90 ERA.


5. Arizona Diamondbacks

Manny Ramirez for Luis Gonzalez and Randy Johnson

This seems unlikely because the Snakes always cry about money, but Gonzalez and the Big Unit will make 62 mil over the next three years, so that's a wash for that time period. The D-Backs decide to gamble on their young pitching, cut Johnson loose, and get the big bat they most desperately need. Hillenbrand batting cleanup? Come on. The Sox payroll climbs briefly knowing that if Randy is healthy they can win the World Series this year, and if not they are done with all but 10 mil after two years.

So there it is. All National League teams, which is curious. What do you think?

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