The Annual Trading Manny Article

MANNY RAMIREZ / ESPN.COM

It’s that time of year again. It’s the “trade Manny Ramirez” column from Fire Brand! (2004, 2005, Zach’s parody of a roundtable of experts discussing a trade) The difference here is that it’s the first column where its widely believed that it could happen without much of a problem. In past years, a trade would be discussed, but it was always such a long shot. Is it a long shot this year? Manny Ramirez is due $36 million over the next two years, with two concurring club options for two years after that, both at $20 million. Two years with $36 million on it doesn’t seem that obscene, especially with Alfonso Soriano, 31, signing for eight years at $136 million (Manny signed for eight as well, for $24 more million at 28 years of age). It doesn’t seem like a long shot. As a matter of fact, it seems like we could get some actual value in return.

We’re talking about signing J.D. Drew for four years at $52 million or two years at $30 million. Carlos Lee is looking for four years at $75 million (and he’s going to get more than that!), despite many concerns about his weight and his ability to hold up statistically over the duration of that contract. Manny could be quite appealing in this market with two years left. It’s possible that Manny could ask for a contract extension as part of the trade, but his desire to get out of Boston may cause him to accept the trade. If not, Manny is such a prolific hitter that an extension wouldn’t be a bad idea, especially if the guaranteed money is lower than the club options. Again, it’s about the total years committed. A contract extension brings the total years committed to three, and it would still be cheaper and a safer bet than Alfonso Soriano and the Cubs. This market is so out of whack, the three-year deal given to Josh Beckett for $30 million is looking pretty nice right now.

Without getting into wild trade fantasies, you can count me among those as hoping Baltimore signs Carlos Lee, leaving Houston and Los Angeles (of Anaheim) in the cold (assuming we win the J.D. Drew bidding over the Angels). This would start up a war for Manny, and I would start the bidding at Morgan Ensberg and Brad Lidge for the Astros (they want to get rid of Ensberg) and for the Angels, Ervin Santana, Scot Shields, and Macier Izturis. (I completely understand that the Ensberg/Lidge deal carries a lot of risk. It’s only an option. There are many options, and three of them were explored yesterday in Zach’s article. In addition, the Houston Chronicle suggests Brad Lidge, second baseman/outfielder Chris Burke, top outfield prospect Hunter Pence, and $4 million for Manny.)

Four teams to this point have contacted the Red Sox about Manny. While the Astros and Angels make the most sense, the only confirmed team that contacted the Red Sox are the Texas Rangers. They don’t seem to be the best fit, but they could offer shortstop Michael Young. I would be happy with Young, but the Rangers would have no reason to give him away. The other three teams are in question, and I’m sure the reason they haven’t said anything is because the Red Sox asked them to operate in secrecy, as Bill Belichick probably told them to do, while the Rangers are prolific chatterboxes.

Dealing Manny is going to have to make sense for the club. It can’t be about dumping him.

Losing Manny Ramirez, no matter who we get back in return, would be a blow to this team offensively. This is a guy headed to the Hall of Fame. A guy with a career line of .314/.411/.600. That is just absolutely insane. He hit .321/.439/.619 in his age 34 season, bashing 35 HR and notching his 11th season of over 100 RBI in 12 seasons of full-time play. He also got 100 walks in a season for the first time in his career.That’s just flat out nuts. A .300 BA/35 HR/100 RBI season day in and day out. There is absolutely no question that he is a dynamic hitter.

Which is why we can’t trade him if we don’t get value in return. Is Morgan Ensberg and Brad Lidge fair value? It’s close to me. Ensberg is a stand up guy who can rake, and Lidge is a solid closer who I think is in dire need of a complete shakeup. Changing leagues, regions, and teams. If the best we can get for him is a team eating his entire salary in exchange for Jose Offerman (who, believe it or not, is still actually playing) … then I have no interest in that.

Losing him would create a gaping hole in our lineup. Sure, Wily Mo Pena could be assigned the left-field job and bash 40 home runs and slowly increase his plate patience, but Manny Ramirez’s do not grow on trees. Wily Mo Pena showed promise this past year, hitting for a .301 average (career: .261) and his prodigious power. However, he’s going to have to learn plate patience simply by playing, but natural plate discipline that Manny has, that Jason Giambi has … that cannot be learned. Wily Mo Pena can become the answer in the four hole, or even Lars Anderson in four years. But Wily Mo (and probably not Lars, but we all hope he does) is not and will never be a Manny Ramirez. Dealing Manny is going to have to make sense for the club. It can’t be about dumping him (thank you, MLB revenue streams!) – it has to be about trading him to improve the club. Having Wily Mo Pena allows us to trade him to improve the club and make the Sox stronger in other aspects of the game.

Now that Alfonso Soriano is off the market, teams will move faster to land the free agents they need to make sure they get them (read: the Angels, having lost out on Aramis Ramirez and Soriano, whom they coveted). Market prices will have been solidified, making it easier to talk numbers. In this talent-strapped, cash-infused market, it may be time to trade Manny Ramirez. His value may never be higher. However, we need to be prepared for the gaping hole in the middle of our lineup that will leave us.

Categories: Brad Lidge Carlos Lee J.D. Drew Morgan Ensberg Trading Manny Saga Wily Mo Pena

Born on the 37th anniversary of the the day Babe Ruth died (1985) which later became the day Jimy Williams was fired in 2001 (a monumental event at the time), Evan was too young to experience the pain 1986 brought, but a deep wound was sowed in 2003. Since then, Fire Brand has become a blog that Red Sox “club officials read,” as per Peter Gammons. Evan enjoys working out, writing, reading, quality television, science fiction and history and being newly married. He is a professional baseball journalist as well as president of a state non-profit and member of the Board of Directors for a national profit. (Twitter.)

25 Responses to “The Annual Trading Manny Article” Subscribe

  1. mouse November 21, 2006 at 4:53 AM #

    I suppose one other way to look at it is this: Manny isn’t getting any younger. Eventually, the Red Sox are going to have to figure out how to cope with “life after Manny.” Would you rather see him walk away in two years and free up nothing but a chunk of a large payroll, or would you rather trade him for pieces that can help the Red Sox on the field right now as well as in the future?
    That said, I’m opposed to trading Manny unless it’s an outright fleecing. We won’t get a hitter of his calibur in return, this is certain, but we should be able to recoup loads of talent for him. And given that the Cubs gave Soriano $136 million and the Dodgers just gave $45 million to Juan Pierre, there has to be someone in this crazy market that we can fleece. Maybe.

  2. Jared K November 21, 2006 at 1:32 PM #

    Should be interesting. I would demand Texeira from Texas, throw in Youkilis to cover first for TX and get back Danks or a low-level/high-upside prosect…I also like the Dodgers, their line-up is in serious need of some pop, especially losing Drew and signing Juan Pierre. I could go for a Billingsley/Kemp package (maybe move Billingsley for a bat) or a Kemp/Laroche/G.Miller package but that would leave a gaping hole behind Ortiz. The more you dissect it Houston seems to be the logical choice. It sounds like Houston is Lee’s preferred destination but it also sounds like they are going for a hometown discount, which after Soriano’s deal may not be likely. I just hope the Sox avoid JD Drew….he reminds me so much of Trot Nixon at twice the cost and half the heart. I know he has more upside but I rather sign Nixon for much less since both are injury prone… so you do not end up with another Manny situation. I have been reading some Dodgers blogs, and granted they are pissed that he opted out of his deal, but fans have so many stories and instances of JDs behaviors that just scream complete indifference to the game (sound familiar?)

  3. Jared K November 21, 2006 at 1:37 PM #

    Should be interesting. I would demand Texeira from Texas, throw in Youkilis to cover first for TX and get back Danks or a low-level/high-upside prosect…I also like the Dodgers, their line-up is in serious need of some pop, especially losing Drew and signing Juan Pierre. I could go for a Billingsley/Kemp package (maybe move Billingsley for a bat) or a Kemp/Laroche/G.Miller package but that would leave a gaping hole behind Ortiz. The more you dissect it Houston seems to be the logical choice. It sounds like Houston is Lee’s preferred destination but it also sounds like they are going for a hometown discount, which after Soriano’s deal may not be likely. I just hope the Sox avoid JD Drew….he reminds me so much of Trot Nixon at twice the cost and half the heart. I know he has more upside but I rather sign Nixon for much less since both are injury prone… so you do not end up with another Manny situation. I have been reading some Dodgers blogs, and granted they are pissed that he opted out of his deal, but fans have so many stories and instances of JDs behaviors that just scream complete indifference to the game (sound familiar?)

  4. Sean O November 21, 2006 at 3:12 PM #

    List of approved people to trade Manny for:
    Mark Teixeira
    Jake Peavy
    Michael Young (borderline)
    Miguel Tejada
    David Wright
    Ervin Santana / Brandon Wood
    Miguel Cabrera
    Felix Hernandez
    Albert Pujols
    Chase Utley
    Ryan Howard
    Anyone else is unacceptable. Manny is too valuable to give up, and if we have any chance of ever winning another championship, we have to go for it now. At this point, dump the prospects, don’t dump Manny.

  5. Andrew November 21, 2006 at 3:46 PM #

    This is why trading Manny is so tough. I can tell you right now no one but no one will trade a decade’s worth production from a young stud for 35 (36?) year old, aging, hurt, defensively-retarded Manny.
    But anything less than that would not be equal value, ie Tejada, Santana/Wood, Michael Young (that’s not actually a serious consideration). None of those players will come close to the punch Manny gives to the Boston lineup, one of the truly great and feared sluggers of our generation, who will only be surpassed maybe by someone like Ryan Howard or Albert Pujols.
    If they trade Manny, the Sox would become an offensively-starved team (compared to the AL East), and I don’t think their pitching is quite yet there that they can become like Minnesota or the 2005 White Sox. If they trade Manny they may not even have a hope of the postseason for several years.
    If they trade Manny, they should not sign Drew, or Lugo, or anyone else. Trading Manny would mean full-on rebuilding mode, as sick as that may make some with the prime years of David Ortiz still upon us. But that’s the reality the Sox face. Trade Manny now and concede the AL East for a number of years, or keep Manny and hope against hope that a year like 2006 will never happen again?

  6. Jared K November 21, 2006 at 3:56 PM #

    Just to clarify my above post, any deal for prospects would mean shipping some or all for a replacement for the 4-spot behind Ortiz. Texeira seems like a perfect choice since the Rangers have had just about the worst pitching for about 10 years now and have to realize pitching is more valuable then hitting. A santana/youkilis or Billingsley/Youkilis package could entice them. Too bad Blalock was so off last year,otherwise I think they would consider moving Texeira more intently.

  7. Trotsky November 21, 2006 at 11:47 PM #

    The Manny for Shields/Santana/Izturis deal makes the best sense for all sides.
    I would immediately send Santana and Crisp for Jarrod Saltamachia and Andruw Jones from the Braves.
    Since this is contingent upon signing JD Drew…. we now have:
    Youk
    Pedroia
    Ortiz
    Jones
    Drew
    WMP
    Loretta
    Varitek
    Izturis
    And we have our backup catcher and closer spots all taken care of too, with Salty and Shields.

  8. Schulz November 22, 2006 at 2:05 AM #

    Loretta… you mean Lowell?

  9. Trotsky November 22, 2006 at 2:24 AM #

    Ooops… yeah, the other “Lo”… Lowell. Thanks.

  10. RH November 22, 2006 at 6:12 AM #

    The Mets still seem to like Manny, so how about…
    Manny for Lastings Milledge, Aaron Heilmann, and Anderson Hernandez? Three young top-prospects for Manny sounds fair…of course, I’m a Red Sox fan, so I’m a little biased.
    Or to the Astros for…
    Brad Lidge, Dan Wheeler, and Hunter Pence. Forget about solving the 3B problem in this trade — I don’t think Ensberg will do it — but adding two top-tier back-of-the-bullpen arms is definitely a good idea.
    Or to the Angels for…
    Juan Rivera, Scot Shields, and Maicer Izturis.
    Another option might be the Padres, for Scott Linebrink and Adrian Gonzalez. Then you trade Lowell for a middle-infielder, move Youk to third, and put Gonzalez at 1st.
    And finally, the Rangers. Can Michael Young be pried away? Probably not, but I would pull the trigger on a deal for Akinori Otsuka, Ian Kinsler, and another top prospect (perhaps Catcher Taylor Teagarden or SS Joaquin Arias…?)
    But the option I’d prefer is that the Sox keep Manny.

  11. Sean O November 22, 2006 at 12:02 PM #

    RH-
    Why would the Astros trade both their closer and their closer-to-be? They’re keeping one of those guys.
    There’s no way we’re working out multiple trades for big bats this offseason. I wouldn’t be shocked if we get a guy like Dunn by dealing some prospects, but there’s no chance we get two, regardless of Manny’s situation.
    Jones would be huge, and I’d do Crisp and Hansen for him in a second now. Crisp, Hansen and Edgar Martinez?

  12. Peter N November 22, 2006 at 3:46 PM #

    Andrew, you are so right. Look at this! We agree! But the loss of Manny for ANYBODY changes this club that we love to love from the innermost to the outermost. A new species, a new make-up of talented people. The Sox FO should not tread lightly in dealings this momentous. We’re going in the right direction so far in the ’06-’07 off-season…..so much more is needed. Be carefull Theo.

  13. josh November 22, 2006 at 7:49 PM #

    And it looks like the Halos are out. Apparently giving GMJ an albatross contract seemed like a better idea then trading for Manny. Yes, the Halos truly are incapable of dealing prospects.
    So I say we don’t trade Manny this year for any reason. Carlos Lee will go to either Baltimore or Houston…Baltimore’s offered way, way, more money; but Lee loves Texas.
    So our only trading partner is Houston, and only if they don’t get Lee. And as I’ve said before…I hate the idea of trading Manny for a headcase closer and an injury prone 3rd baseman. As for Hunter Pence. Why do we need him? He’s a year younger then Wily Mo, and hasn’t really figured out AA yet. He strikes out a lot, plays bad defense, walks a bit more then Pena, but probably doesn’t approach Wily’s ceiling for power…because I don’t think anyone does.
    Oh, and a few weeks ago, Pence got busted for drunk driving and was sent home by the Astros. So there’s that. Manny’s not going anywhere…

  14. Quo November 22, 2006 at 8:04 PM #

    Also, RH, the 3B problem? I admit, I’m a bit skeptical of Lowell given his cooling off towards the end of the season, but 20HR and 80RBI along with GG-calibre defense at the spot is hardly a “problem”.

  15. Evan November 22, 2006 at 9:04 PM #

    Oh, I wouldn’t say the Halos are still out of it. I could envision a package of:
    Ervin Santana
    Scot Shields
    Macier Izturis
    for
    Manny Ramirez
    —-
    Two things. The Angels then can package Juan Rivera and Chone Figgins to CHW for Joe Crede. Hmmm?
    Another thing. Most important thing. Getting Santana means we could ask Papelbon to close. It’d put him back where he’d succeed, give Trampoline and Hansen another year to develop, then Pap shifts to the rot. next year after Schilling says sayonara. It also avoids us rushing Jon Lester.

  16. RH November 22, 2006 at 9:44 PM #

    One other intriguing possibility not involving Manny is trading someone to the Twins for Juan Rincon, who Minnesota suggested might be available. Rincon held lefties to a .148 average and wasn’t too bad against righties (.206) either. We could use someone like that.
    I wonder if we could revive the talks of Torii Hunter…Manny and Hansen for Hunter, Rincon, and Jason Bartlett?

  17. RH November 22, 2006 at 9:46 PM #

    One other thing, I think the Sox best option might be to sign Rich Aurilia to a 1-2yr deal to play short/2B. He can play any infield position so the Sox could use him to spell the starters, or as a starter if Pedroia isn’t ready.
    Aurilia would also be very valuable off the bench because he hit .341 against lefties last year. He also has decent power to leftfield so he could make full use of the monster.

  18. Andrew November 22, 2006 at 11:47 PM #

    The Halos would never trade Rivera and Figgins for Crede. That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Juan Rivera is almost as valuable as Crede by himself.
    I mean seriously, who would make that deal?

  19. Evan November 23, 2006 at 12:06 AM #

    A team who doesn’t need outfielders (Ramirez, Matthews, Vlad) and needs a power hitting third baseman. And CHW won’t want Garrett Anderson.

  20. Anonymous November 23, 2006 at 12:22 AM #

    That’s pretty retarded thinking right there. So they give up one of their best young players (Rivera) and a capable third-baseman who is also young (Figgins), for a third baseman. So that way they can have an outfield of Ramirez/Anderson (face it, Manny can’t play a full season in a real left field), Matthews, and Guererro for the next several years. Yeah sounds great, until one of them gets hurt. Since they don’t have Rivera or Figgins anymore, they’d have to use a replacement-level player. All for some mythical need for a power-hitting third baseman.
    Sorry, but Crede ain’t *that* good (forget the silver slugger sham, his numbers were all-around worse than even A-Rod’s), and the Angels aren’t that stupid.

  21. Evan November 23, 2006 at 12:57 AM #

    They’re already looking to deal Figgins. They would not blink at adding Rivera to get Crede, believe me. Unless they include a top prospect, and he’d rather deal Rivera than a top prospect.

  22. Andrew November 23, 2006 at 2:23 AM #

    Then he’s an absolute fool. Very, very lucky for the White Sox if that deal goes down, and the GM will probably look to lose his job when the Angels fail again.

  23. Andrew November 23, 2006 at 1:26 PM #

    Well now, seeing as how he just gave GMJ a 5-year, $50 million deal for one good season, I can see him foolishly doing the aforementioned deal too. This Thanksgiving one of the things I’m thankful for is that I’m not an Angels fan.

  24. Anonymous November 26, 2006 at 8:43 AM #

    ramirez, clement, and additional consideration for tejada makes more and more sense. bullpen help can be acquired from the Giants.
    http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/redsox/articles/2006/11/26/financially_not_a_big_hit/?page=4
    Lowell would be a massive improvement over Feliz at third. I’m an SF native and I can tell you Feliz was a total liability last season. I also think the Giants do need to re-sign Bonds at whatever cost, or face losing the confidence of their fan base. They really have nothing and are getting roasted in the press….

  25. Schulz November 28, 2006 at 10:46 PM #

    Every possible trade so far involving Manny has made me want to vommit- except those involving Miggy. As someone said earlier, the thought of Manny jogging out onto Fenway in any other uniform, be it blue, orange, green, etc., makes me sick.
    One of the guys on PTI made an interesting point.
    Wouldn’t it be funny if the Red Sox came to an agreement with another team, and manny used his 10-5 rights to revoke the trade- just to spite the Sox for not trading him all the times he requested it?
    now that’s what i call ironic.
    P.S. can someone do something about the porn ads?