I'm sure you've heard in recent days abouot Manny Ramirez and the trade rumors flying around him. He has reportedly finally fallen out of favor with BoSox brass, as many of his recent antics have not looked very good in the media. He has even said today that he is tired of the Red Sox and wouldn't mind a trade. Would Manny be good trade bait and bring in a good haul? Probably. But here is why the Red Sox shouldn't (and won't) pull the trigger on this deal:
1. Yankee Killer – Manny has a history of excellent play against the Yankees, who are currently resurging and a major contender in the AL East again. He is a career .319 hitter against them, and has 55 HR in 199 games. This season is no different, as he is hitting .387 with 3 HR in 9 games. The Red Sox will need him down the stretch.
2. Defending David – He is a necessary cleanup hitter not only for his numbers alone, but he gives Big Papi a huge boost. Pitchers are forced to pitch to Ortiz, as they don’t want to have to face Manny in the lineup with anyone on (even an awkward runner like Ortiz). Manny's intimidation factor is still running high, and most pitchers are still afraid to challenge him in the slightest.
3. Clutch Hitter – Manny is a career .326 hitter with RISP, and is almost as known as David Ortiz for his ability to win the game on one hit. He has 20 career Grand Slams, only 3 fewer than the record holder, Lou Gehrig.
4. Even Handed – In his career, Manny hits above .300 at Home and Away, and against Lefties and Righties. Very few hitters are as good in so many different conditions as Manny is, and he may prove invaluable to the Red Sox later on.
5. Fielding – Let’s face it; Manny is far from being a good fielder, or even an average one. But he is excellent at playing balls off the Green Monster, and many a runner has been forced to hold because of his great positioning and timing. Bringing in a new glove halfway through the season will kill the Red Sox in this regard, and those runs that score could be all the difference.
6. Who Else? – There’s not much else in the way of corner outfielders out there for Boston to grab that would be cheap but effective. Guys like Matt Holliday, Jason Bay and Adam Dunn are all far younger than Manny and still good/great hitters, and would charge much more than just Manny from the Red Sox. Boston could be willing to pull the trigger, as they have a loaded farm system, but the asking price may still jump too high. Besides, all of these guys have their bugs. Holliday is a notorious thin-air hitter in Colorado (bad away hitter), Dunn hits for a low BA and is a liability in the field, and Jason Bay is turning 30 in September and a fluky hitter (hit .247 last year).
Don't forget as well that Manny is still having a good season. Hitting .298, 19 HR, 63 RBI, .922 OPS...far from MVP numbers, but still quite good. The better idea is to let Manny finish the season as a Red Sox, don't pick up his $20 Million option, and let him walk away as a FA. The influx of minor league talent will keep them strong later on, and perhaps it would be best to let Manny be Manny somewhere else.