Friday, July 18, 2008

Fearless Prediction: Manny Will Be Traded

After reading this dispatch from Bob Lobel via the Globe's "Extra Bases" blog I would like to go out on a limb and predict that Manny will be traded prior to the July 31 trade deadline. I've been kind of thinking this could happen for a while, but five things have seemingly come together now that could push this whole situation over the top. Note this is all being drawn from what Bob Lobel said.

1) Manny's infamous backwards K against Mo Rivera. This was apparently an "F--- You" directed at the front office for a six figure fine that was deservedly levied on him for his outburst at the traveling secretary.

2) Not only was this backwards K an affront to the front office, it was an affront to the team. Lobel put this on par with the infamous "Nomar sits on the bench and sulks while Jeter nearly breaks his face going into the stands for a foul ball" episode from July 2004 which seemed to mark the unofficial end of the Nomar Era in Boston and brought the need to shake things up and rid the clubhouse of it's most notorious malcontent to the forefront. While fans got rightly steamed for Manny's apathy towards that at bat I have no idea how poorly that must have gone over with his teammates and manager. I have no idea what goes on behind closed doors of clubhouses but with that one at bat, Manny put himself over everything and everybody else in the organization and I just don't know how everybody else moves on from that and can respect Manny after that stunt.

3) Manny calling out John Henry in the paper, and Henry getting personally offended by what he deemed false accusations from him. Never a good idea to publicly call out and bad mouth the guy that pays you $20 million a year you know?

4) Manny is still a very productive hitter as evidenced by his 137 OPS+. However, he is not the hitter he was in 2005, the last time it seemed they were serious about trading him when he had a 153 OPS+. Furthermore, with the likelihood of them picking up his option for next year seemingly shrinking by the day, they do not need to worry about filling his hole in the lineup for the next few years after this one because it is a problem they are likely going to need to tackle in the offseason regardless. Therefore, it is not a now and the future problem, it is just a now problem they will face with moving him and I think they can figure something else out for the last 50-60 games of the year (plus hopefully the playoffs).

5) Every other time that Manny trade rumors have surfaced, a media circus has ensued and made the deal that much more difficult to work out with the extra spotlight being shown upon the inner-workings. Now there are no Manny trade rumors which I have seen, which should allow for Theo and the Crew to explore opportunities to do this - if they so desire - at their own speed and not be forced to deal with throngs of media outlets haranguing them every five minutes for status updates. The only other comparable situation in recent Red Sox history is the Nomar Trade. Nobody saw that coming. Could this be a similar situation?

So, that is why I think Manny will get traded. As for destinations and return, what do I think the Sox will get? If I had to speculate, I'd say that they work out some sort of three way deal with the Diamondbacks and Pirates where Manny goes to the D'Backs - a team dying for a right-handed hitting corner OF and in desperate need of a patient, run producer for their lineup - for prospects including hot shot young pitcher Max Scherzer. The Red Sox then flip a D'Back prospect plus Craig Hansen, Brandon Moss, and a mid-level prospect to Pittsburgh for their right fielder, Xavier Nady who is having a career season which may or may not be a fluke and their left-handed setup man Damaso Marte.

This trade works for everybody. The Pirates get two young, MLB ready players plus two other prospects in exchange for a couple of veteran players, the Diamondbacks get the right-handed power bat they need and who they can lockup for another two years and possibly beyond in the inferior NL, and the Red Sox get yet another high-ceilinged pitching talent plus a suitable corner OF replacement and late inning reliever. To me, this deal works all around and it makes every team better in one way or another. It may seemed far-fetched now, but if a trade with Manny goes down, I'd bet it looks something like the above.

1 comment:

Boston Knucklehead said...

I really hope he doesn't get traded. As many people who think he is a goof he is still a Red Sox asset.