Well, they did it. I really didn't think they would, but after Manny's lunatic fringe where he said 'The Red Sox don't deserve a player like me' they shipped him off to Joe Torre and the Dodgers. Could Manny have asked for a better landing spot? Suddenly he's the least insane person in the city. That has to be a first for him.
(Sidenote: How do you think Nomar feels about being reunited with Manny? How about Derek Lowe?)
In exchange the Red Sox get Jason Bay from Pittsburgh and while most of Boston is left wondering what's to become of the rest of the season, I think this is a pretty good deal. Manny is obviously past his prime, became way too high maintenance for even the teammates that love him, and we're getting Bay just as he's hitting his peak.
We just traded a 36 year old left fielder for a 29 year old left fielder and in the process swept out a season's worth of smelly baggage. Even better, Bay will bust his ass on every play. Unlike....well, you know already.
I should note that the Sox have Bay under contract through next season, as well. As I wrote earlier this week, this means the Sox will have some cash ready to throw at Matt Holliday when he becomes a free agent. Just pointing it out is all....
Don't fault the Sox for this one, Boston fans. Manny left them no choice. This is eerily reminiscent of Nomar's final days where he sulked in the Boston dugout in Yankee stadium. Like Nomar at the time, it was obvious Manny wasn't going to be invested in this team if they kept him around.
So they did what they had to. Let's keep in mind that Jason Bay has Manny like numbers this season, but he's been playing on shitty Pirate teams most of his career. I, for one, am excited to see what he does with legitimate on base machines in front of him and someone like Mike Lowell and JD Drew coming up behind him.
Don't get me wrong, I'll miss Manny, but his off field rhetoric (including his disgusting shoving incident with the 63 year old travelling secretary) and on field half assed play of late was more than 'Manny being Manny'. This was above and beyond his usual ditzy, absent mindedness and quickly became hurtful and dangerous to the rest of the team. Both mentally and physically. Just ask Kevin Youkilis.
Just look at how the Sox played their last series. Don't tell me Manny wasn't effecting the mood in the clubhouse. They played like they wanted to be anywhere else.
Don't misread this as me saying the Sox are a better team without Manny. If he were happy and hustling they'd be the team to beat. Bay is no Manny, but if he can keep close to what Manny did number wise (and look at the stats side by side, so far this year) and be a good guy in the clubhouse (and by all accounts he is) the this is the best possible scenario for the Sox.
One thing I didn't like was them throwing in Brandon Moss in the deal. Why was that necessary? I liked that guy and something tells me he'll be tearing up the NL in the next year or two with everyone asking 'How did the Red Sox let this guy get away?'
If you're wondering - and I know you are - my eldest boy was more upset than I thought he would be. Asking 'Do we play the Dodgers this year?', 'Why did they have to trade him?' and heartbreakingly 'Will Manny ever come back to the Red Sox?' Welcome to the real sports world, kid. I am pleased to note that he asked about Jason Bay and wondered 'Hey, will he take Manny's number? Maybe I can get one of his shirts.'
Kids! So damn resilient. I'm still recovering.
Today's distraction: I'll post one a little later. I actually have another entire post nearly done and will include the distraction on that.
Quick note: I'm heading to Philly for work next week so may not be posting much. I'm taking the Acela Speed Racer Train and will definitely let you know how that goes. My first time. Hope they're gentle with me.