Bon Voyage Manny

And so the Manny Ramirez era in Boston comes to bizarre and controversial end (not unlike fellow stars Nomar Garciaparra and Pedro Martinez, but at least it could be said their production was way down when they left).

In case you missed Mike Lynch’s report, Lynchie tells us this 3-team deal with the Dodgers and Pirates didn’t really begin to kick around until 2:30 Thursday afternoon, just 90 minutes before the 4:00 pm deadline. An extension was requested and granted to work out parameters of a deal, and it was finalized shortly after.

Right up until last night’s collapse, Manny was going to stay with the Sox. But the team’s horrid performance against Los Angeles, coupled with an informal polling of players by management that came back as an astonishing 23-1 in favor of trading Ramirez (Big Papi the lone holdout according to Lynchie), changed management’s mind, and now here we are: Manny is a Dodger.

Even more astonishing is what the Red Sox gave up to get RID of Manny. A key bullpen arm in Craig Hansen, a promising (albeit blocked from any real playing time) outfielder in Brandon Moss, Manny himself, and the $7 million he’s still owed… and the only player they get back is Jason Bay? That sounds like a fair trade for A-Rod or Pujols to me!

And boy, is Manny a winner here. He gets to hang out in Hollywood, first of all. Plus, as part of waiving his no-trade agreement, the Dodgers agreed to forget about his two $20 million team options, making Manny a free agent after the season (superagent Scott Boras, who won’t make a dime until Manny gets a new deal, must be thrilled).

As for the Red Sox, a clubhouse cancer is removed, but at what cost? One of the most feared hitters of all time is gone, replaced by a good player who’s never played in a big game in his career. Don’t you think opposing pitchers are going to be a little less afraid to pitch around David Ortiz now? I agree with Lynchie. The smartest thing the Red Sox could have done is deal with Manny for two more months (not like he’s going to tank it with a future contract on the line), pick up that not-outrageous $20 million option, and trade him to the National League for a bag of balls if you have to. It would have been better than seeing him in pinstripes for the opening of the new Yankee Stadium in 2009!

-SI

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