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As the days to the trade deadline melt away quicker than an ice cream cone dropped on a hot July sidewalk, the UmpBump staff email is lighting up with trade talk (and, of course, snark):

Paul: Now the Diamondbacks have Jon Rauch AND Randy Johnson. So can we still call Johnson Big Unit? He’s not even the biggest pitcher on his own team anymore.

Nick: I vote we call Rauch “Bigger Unit.”

Alejandro: Rauch is a tall mofo, ain’t he the tallest big leaguer?

Paul: Yes. Rauch is 6’11. Johnson is 6’10. But Rauch is also built like a tank. Johnson, well, looks like a johnson.

Sarah: So then Rauch isn’t the Big Unit. He’s more like the Huge Deuce?

Can this possibly be true?

Rockies were asking for Buchholz

The price for Fuentes appears to be pretty high. According to the Denver Post, the Rockies are looking for a premium starting pitcher in return. A Rockies source told the Denver Post that Colorado was asking for Clay Buchholz from the Red Sox or Ian Kennedy from the Yankees.

Coley: I don’t doubt they asked about Buchholz. But if that’s what they insisted on, then it’s no wonder Fuentes is still a Rockies player.

Sarah: No wonder that the Theo recently said that the bullpen help will have to come from within:

“It’s really almost a fantasy at this point to think that that we can make a move for that type of guy,” said Epstein. “It just rarely happens, and the price is so sky-high right now that we’d be doing a disservice to the organization to give up impact young players for a reliever who may or may not make us better. But we’re going to keep trying, I hope we can make something happen, but the answer definitely lies within.”

Maybe he’s wised up since the Gagne trade last year, which I was thinking about again just yesterday. It was such a bad, bad trade for the Red Sox. David Murphy is currently part of one of the best offensive outfields in the majors (his OBP isn’t that great, but he does have 13 homers so far…not too shabby for a guy many saw as just a AAAA kind of player), Engel Beltre was just Baseball America’s prospect of the week (or whatever they call it—he’s tearing shit up, basically), and Kason Gabbard—well, he’s on the DL and sort of fell apart a little bit this year. But even so. He still pitched better than Gagne.

Nick: Which all just makes it so amazing that the Diamondbacks got closer Jon Rauch for just Emilio Bonafacio, who will probably never be more than a bench player at best.

Stupid Jim Bowden. Why does he have to go and help the D-backs like that?

Coley: Nick, I think Bonafacio will be a starter next year. I’m not saying he should be. But I think he will be.

Nick: Oh yeah, he probably will be. But he lacks the skills to be good at the major league level because he lacks patience and power. He has speed and decent range in the field, but has poor hands and suspect
footwork (although those are things which can be improved).
Sarah: And now there’s this. Sigh.
Meanwhile, Jason Varitek just struck out with the bases loaded on three straight pitches, by swinging at all three. I wonder if Bob Lobel is going to report that the FO thinks the free agent struck out on purpose?
Coley: Sarah, do you think Manny struck out on purpose? I mean, I’m sure we’ll never know. But do you think he did?
Sarah: No. I don’t think Manny strikes out on purpose, ever. I think he goofs around on defense, and I think sometimes he calls in sick. But in the batter’s box, he’s all business. Anyone could be made to look stupid by three Mariano Rivera cutters on the black—even Manny Ramirez.

Nick: It’s crazy that people are rating Manny by RBI.

Sarah: I KNOW. It’s the talk of the town—and it’s driving me nuts.

Nick: Anyway, I’m going to write the What They Need for the Mets. I think they need two outfielders, because right now they are going with Endy Chavez and Fernadno Tatis in LF and RF.

Sarah: Is that what caused them to underachieve so woefully this year?

Nick: I don’t think they’ve underachieved. I think that 53-47 is about where this team should be. It’s an aged team.

Sarah: Well, I guess the perception was that Santana put them over the top, that they would be able to put distance between themselves and Philly….let alone the Marlins.

Nick: Yes, but their offense was secretly very suspect. Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, Moises Alou, Luis Castillo, Brian Schneider…all are really old, and already in decline.

Sarah: Well, they might be able to get a future HOF leftfielder right about now…who is also old and Hispanic, like the rest of their team.

Nick: You mean trade for Manny?

Sarah: I think the Sox FO wants to get rid of him.

Nick: Really? You think Theo doesn’t want to pick up his option?

Sarah: I’m deeply suspicious. I’ve seen this pattern before. Boston’s front office always seems to spread dirt about their stars to prepare the masses for the inevitable trade/departure. Besides, he was Dan Duquette’s biggest signing, and Theo/Lucchino both seem to have some kind of Oedipal thing with the Duke.

Do you think relievers are getting more expensive than a full gas tank these days? And would the Sox really deal Manny? Would the Mets (or another team) even take him, or am I just making stuff up? (Probably the latter.) And more importantly, what do you think Jon Rauch’s new nickname should be?

29 Responses to “Trade Talk: Relievers, the Mets, Manny”

  1. Paul Moro says:

    Manny is a defensive upgrade over no one. He lets like 35% of balls hit in his area fall. That’s just atrocious.

    I still don’t think that the Sox will deal Manny after all these years. That’s a huge shot to their chance at the championship this year.

  2. Lyndsay says:

    I say no go on any kind of trade deadline deals on the part of Theo Epstein, Manny or no Manny involved – he doesn’t have a good track record, and I think he’s learned to make the major moves in the offseason. he knows he can’t get anyone that even comes close to Manny in terms of value. I do wish that Craig Hansen had a higher trade value, because I’d like to see him get dealt – they’ve given him many chances to clean it up and it’s time for him to go.

  3. Coley Ward says:

    Paul, I don’t think the Sox will trade Manny, either. But, as Sarah points out, they did trade Nomar. So anything is possible.

  4. melissa says:

    The difference between trading Nomar and Manny would be that Manny is more needed by this team than Nomar was to the team when he was traded. Nomar had shown that he was even more injury prone than the occasionally achy Manny. With Ortiz having been injured this year they really can’t afford to risk losing Manny as well. The other thing to consider is why would teams give up anything of value for him when they know Boston has soured on him? He has more value to help them win now than what they could get in return for him. I don’t think Epstein has any intention of trading him but I do believe that the Red Sox front office has wanted to prepare the fans for the fact that they will not pick up his option after the season.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    It would be impossible to replace Manny in the lineup, but I think the FO’s concern—if Gammons is right—is that Manny may just stop playing. That’s apparently why they had to call Scott Boras in and took Manny get MRIs on *both* knees; they weren’t going to have any of this 2006 crap where he just sits on the bench for a month. But if they can’t force him to play, it would clearly be better for the team to just trade him.

    What I don’t understand is that this all seems to have metastasized from one interview Manny gave to the Herald a little less than two weeks ago, where he said he wanted his contract situation resolved. Was that a good idea? No. But anyone who expects more from Ramirez at this point must have spent the last 8 years under a rock somewhere. The Red Sox deigned to respond to his bait—they should have just ignored it—and now you’ve got a tit-for-tat situation where both sides are making it worse the more jabs they take at each other. Ugh.

    I had a bad feeling when the Sox got rid of Tavarez. He was Manny’s BFF on the team, and probably worth keeping on the roster just to keep him happy.

  6. Lyndsay says:

    I don’t know that I buy the “BFF” thing though Sarah – he’s still pretty tight with Ortiz and Lugo.

    Melissa’s right on Nomar and Manny being completely different situations – Nomar’s trade value was sinking and he was injured, and had been of little use to them offensively. that was also unusual behavior for Nomar (though his insecurities had been building for quite some time), whereas this is pretty status quo for Manny. I think it caught me by surprise though because I, like many people, thought Manny had turned a corner after ’07 – we kept hearing how he was all into meditation and yoga now and was all happy and zen. and even talking about how badly he wanted his number retired with Boston. I read that as him being eager to do whatever it took to stay, whereas maybe I should have seen that as him trying to push the front office to take care of his option situation already.

    whatever, I am so done with all these trade speculations. I can’t wait until the trade deadline fucking passes and everything settles down, and every other at-bat on NESN isn’t punctuated by the word Manny.

  7. Sarah Green says:

    He and Tavarez came up through the minors together, though—from what I understand, they were very, very close friends. Manny certainly gets along with Lugo and Ortiz, but he doesn’t rub their bald heads.

    Nomar, also, had refused several lucrative deals offered him by the Red Sox because either he a) was determined to leave Boston or b) he was determined to get more money.

    I too thought Manny had turned a corner last year—and even at the beginning of this year, I had no doubt that the Red Sox would pick up his option and he would retire here. Now that seems very unlikely. But I wonder what happened to set him off? Is it really just naked greed, as Peter Gammons would have it? His comments to the press haven’t seemed focused on the money, but focused on the FO’s alleged duplicity. But maybe, like Pedro, for him “respect” = “$$$$.”

  8. Lyndsay says:

    and it seemed like it happened all of a sudden too…things seemed all hunky dory and then BOOM, he punches Youk, he pushes down George Costanza, he gets fined, he starts complaining to the media. and here I thought he was a peace-loving stoner doing yoga with his “Uncle Rico” (it figures that he would have an Uncle Rico – now why can’t we ever meet this guy?). makes you wonder – what the hell happened? did he just resent being disciplined by the team? oh Manny – you are an enigma wrapped in a riddle.

    I’ll reiterate what I said as a comment to the Teixeira post – Manny to the Rockies for Holliday and Fuentes. NOW. Pull the trigger, Theo.

  9. melissa says:

    Respect = $$$$ is the formula most likely at play here with Manny, like most players. Manny has seemed to be pouting about not having his option picked up and it’s obvious the Red Sox don’t want to pay him the $20 million. Manny hasn’t changed who he is or his personality, he is the same guy he’s always been but now the team has decided he isn’t worth the trouble.
    I have seen this same kind of scenario play out in Chicago with guys like Frank Thomas and Sammy Sosa. The team enables and defends the prima donna/ diva player when he is producing at his optimum level and when they decide he isn’t worth the money he wants they turn on him and offer him up to the media as a prima donna/ diva. Once the front office decides they are going to cut their losses with the guy they start to plant things off the record and allow information to get out that they would have hidden or downplayed in the past. The front office creates the monster and then when he no longer suits their purposes they expose him to the media as a monster. It’s unfortunate that they can’t just let the guy go without trashing him and trying to get public opinion on their “side.” It’s also disappointing to see a so-called journalist like Gammons allow himself to be a pawn of the Red Sox front office.

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