31 July, 2008

Manny and Bay moving...

With the tremendous deal that sent Manny Ramirez to lala land and Jason Bay to beantown we breakdown the plusses and minuses for the three teams involved.
On the surface it looks like the Dodgers came out on top of this deal. They get Manny Ramirez, a productive future Hall-of-Famer, for the rest of the season for two "prospects," and no financial expenditure. The Red Sox seem to be the losers by netting Jason Bay for Manny Ramirez, Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss, all the while paying the remainder of Manny's contract.
The Red Sox certainly didn't get equal value in return, but they had to make a change in order to preserve the integrity of the organization. Craig Hansen is a solid 24 year old pitcher who projects to be a solid set-up man and potentially a closer. Brandon Moss is a 24 year old who projects as a viable fourth outfielder. The Red Sox were essentially forced to throw in two viable future major league semi-regulars for a bat that is more or less equal to Manny's.
While Manny is a much bigger star, Jason Bay has very comparable numbers to Ramirez's this season:
Another plus is the difference in age. Manny Ramirez is 36 years old and will most certainly begin to see a deterioration of his skills. Jason Bay is 29 years old and will be able to maintain a high level of play for at least the next 2 or 3 seasons. Furthermore, the Red Sox control him next year at the bargain price of $7.5 million.
Taking a look at what the Dodgers had to give up, Andy LaRoche is a 24 year solid third baseman. He has had to deal with some injuries in his young career, but his upside is very strong. The Pirates will hold onto LaRoche until even better options are ready, at which point they will be able to spin LaRoche in another deal. In addition, the Bucs receive Bryan Morris, a 21 year old righty who could become a solid option over the next couple of years.
Essentially this was a good deal for all three teams, but for drastically different reasons. The Pirates finally get enough talent for a player they needed to move, the Dodgers get the bat they desperately needed, and the Red Sox have sanity restored in their organization.
This is perhaps the greatest example of an athlete whose selfishness cost a team more than money. Manny Ramirez is a tremendous talent, most of his antics were funny - a welcome change in pace from the self-absorbed seriousness of many modern athletes. In the end however, Manny Ramirez took his act to another level - that of a quitter, who didn't care about winning. The Dodgers will welcome his bat, but must hope that it comes with true effort. In a time when many in the game are being criticized for their use of performance-enhancing drugs, we forget to consider just how horrible the sin of apathy can be. A complete apathy for winning and apathy for full-time commitment to excellence.

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