Ever since it became apparent that Alfonso Soriano was going to get paid A-Rod money, teams have started viewing Manny Ramirez as a not so pricey option. Sure, he’s a little crazy, but nobody hits like Manny. And he’s only got two years left on his contract, so it’s not like you’d have to put up with him forever.
Sarah, Nick and I have been discussing how much Manny is worth. Keep in mind, this is a player the Sox were ready to give away just two seasons ago, when they put him on waivers.
Now it looks like the Sox are ready to demand a little bit more in a trade. But how much?
Fist, it’s safe to say that whoever trades for Manny will have to be willing to pay what’s left on his contract. The Sox won’t chip in any of what’s owed to him. That’s a given. And that, really, is the biggest thing the Sox will get out of any Manny trade — payroll relief.
What the Sox almost certainly will not get for Manny is another superstar. They won’t get Vernon Wells or A-Rod or Vlad Guerero. Nor will they get Dontrelle or Travis Lee or Mark Texiera. Instead, they’ll get salary relief and players who will fill a couple of different team needs.
Of course, there’s no replacing Manny. He’s simply one of the great hitters of the last 50 years. With him gone, the Sox will not be as dangerous an offensive team. And you can bet Ortiz’s number will drop.
Let’s look at the Sox’ needs. They need a shortstop, since Alex Gonzalez just signed with the Reds. The Globe is reporting the Sox have their eye on Texas SS Michael Young.
The Sox also have been contacted by four teams about Manny Ramírez, one of them being the Texas Rangers, who tried to swing an Alex Rodriguez-for-Ramírez deal in the winter of 2003 and need a replacement for Carlos Lee. The Sox would be interested in shortstop Michael Young, though it’s doubtful they could land him.
I know Tom Hicks is unpredictable, but I don’t think he’d give up young, talented, sane Michael Young for the aging, talented, crazy Manny. Plus, word on the street is that the Sox will sign Julio Lugo to play short.
Next, the Sox need bullpen help. One team with a glut of talented relievers is the Angels, who just signed star reliever Justin Speier. The LA Times says the Angels may be stockpiling relievers to make a run at Manny:
Or, with Soriano’s big bat off the board, the Angels could be stockpiling pitchers to use highly coveted Shields in a deal for a slugger, such as Toronto’s Vernon Wells, Atlanta’s Andruw Jones or Boston’s Manny Ramirez.
“It might end up leading to something like that, but that wasn’t the objective here,” General Manager Bill Stoneman said. “We have a good bullpen; we want to make it even better.”
I think Manny to the Angels makes the most sense. Anaheim is a competative team that could win now. Plus it’s a relaxed environment, which Manny covets. Plus the Angles need a bat to protect Vlad Guerero. Plus they have the right pieces to offer the Sox. In addition to needing bullpen help, the Sox have shown a desire to upgrade in CF, where Coco Crisp didn’t live up to his billing last season. The Angels might be willing to part with the speedy Chone Figgins as part of a deal for Manny.