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Well, this is shaping up to be one of the quieter trade deadlines in recent memory.  Nevertheless, as I have done every year on this blog, I’ll be here all afternoon to give you hasty reactions to each trade as they happen.  Newest trades will be on top

* * *

Boston dumps Manny Ramirez, cash on the Dodgers for Pirates OF Jason Bay.  Pirates receive Andy LaRoche, Bryan Morris, Craig Hansen, and Brandon Moss

Sigh. Yet more confirmation of Ned Colletti’s severe case of big-name-itis and Frank McCourt’s mad quest to acquire as many members of the 2004 Boston Red Sox as he possibly can.  The Dodgers are weakening their defense terribly.  Manny is the worst defensive left fielder in all of baseball by virtually every measure there is.  And it is not even all that close.  The short left field in Fenway was just about the only park in the majors where he was even serviceble. Now the Dodgers have huge defensive holes at third, short, second, and left.  Not to mention the huge logjam in the Dodgers outfield being made even worse.  If the Dodgers play anything other than Manny-Kemp-Ethier most of the time, this deal doesn’t really even help anything.  But you know that Torre is going to be sorely tempted to run Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre out there as much as he possibly can.

As for Boston, this is an insanely good deal.  It is ridiculous that they got JASON BAY, who is locked up through 2009 for just Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss (and Manny).  Those are two guys they didn’t even want!

As for the Pirates, this has to be a bit of a disappointment.  LaRoche has a chance to be good, but this is not anywhere near the return you would have expected for a year and a half of Jason Bay.

Reds ship Griffey Jr to the White Sox for P Nick Masset and 2B Danny Richar

This is a pretty baffling trade for the White Sox, one which smacks of big-name-itis and favorite player obsession.  Griffey can still hit a bit, and of course both 1B Paul Konerko and CF Nick Swisher are struggling at the plate this season, so playing Griffey in center can allow Ozzie Guillen to bench one or the other with Swisher either sliding over to 1B or riding the pine, but Griffey is not *that* much of an improvement over Swisher, and playing him in center is just asking for another groin pull or hamstring tear.  Not a bad deal for the Reds though, as they get out from under Griffey’s salary and buyout to an extent (splitting them with the Sox), and they also get Masset, who is a mediocre but usable swingman, and Richar, who is only 25 and was once heralded as the future 2B of the ChiSox, and may yet become at least a handy piece of the bench or something.

Mariners trade Arthur Rhodes to the Marlins for minor league P Gaby Hernandez

Meh. The Marlins already had a pretty decent bullpen (4th in the league in bullpen ERA), so this is just adding a tiny extra piece. Plus, Arthur Rhodes is old and has only pitched 22 innings this year, so he’s likely to wear down and pitch not quite as well down the stretch. But it does let them get the ball out of Taylor Tankersley’s hands and let him try to rebuild his shattered psyche down at AAA. Gaby Hernandez is a B-grade prospect, but that is not a bad return for a Mariners squad that is always in need of pitching and which was going nowhere this year.

20 Responses to “2008 Trade Deadline Roundup: Knee-jerk Analysis of All the Trades, as They Happen”

  1. melissa says:

    Colletti should be fired yesterday. It’s unbelievable that the Red Sox were able to dump Manny and get back Jason Bay. I am shocked, this is a great deal for Boston. Wouldn’t it have made more sense for the Dodgers to acquire Bay than Manny? It looks like LA and Pittsburgh both got pantsed.

  2. Nick Kapur says:

    Oh yeah, I would WAY rather have the Dodgers get Bay than Manny. In a cold minute.

  3. I don’t think the Pirates got such a bad deal, Nick. Andy LaRoche is a top prospect. Before the season, Keith Law ranked him number 22 in all of baseball. True, LaRoche has yet to hit at the major league level, but he’ll get every opportunity in Pittsburgh. It’s also true that the Rangers got a little more for Teixeira (Saltalamacchia and Andrus) than the Pirates got for Bay, but the Rangers sent the Braves more than Teixeira. They included Ron Mahay in that deal, and Mahay is no slouch.

  4. melissa says:

    The Pirates are the LaRochiest team in baseball now so they got that goin’ for ‘em.

  5. Sarah Green says:

    I was on the road today, so I am late to the party. It cheers me to hear you say that the Sox pantsed the Dodgers and the Pirates…because this deal is going to take some getting used to for me. I mean, the past couple of weeks have been very toxic for Red Sox Nation, and this is, in some ways, a cleansing moment. But even so….after 8 years of chanting “Man-NY, Man-NY, Man-NY” it’s going to be jarring to have to switch to “BAAAY. BAAAY. BAAAY.” Doesn’t have quite the same ring. But throw a few web-gem catches in there, and I think the Faithful will adjust.

  6. I’m with you Sarah. I don’t see this a “ridiculously good” deal. I see it as an okay deal. Bay certainly has his up-sides – while his defense is only so-so (and he’ll have to adjust to hitting the wall learning all the nooks and crannies in left), he’s reportedly faster than Manny, and has a ton of stolen bases. So what I see here is either a) a slightly less powerful Manny who actually RUNS the basepaths or b) Ellsbury more power. the downside could be that he needs some time to “adjust” to AL pitching, like Drew did. I think the Sox had no choice with Moss – he’s got the ability to start right now, we just had no room for him and, he needs to build his career and showcase his stuff with a team that isn’t in the pennant race now – he needs some regular starts, and we just can’t afford to be testing guys out right now. Hansen to me is no loss – it got to the point where you knew that if he was coming in, Francona had basically conceded. I think though that they could have gotten another reliever or maybe a prospect or two from the Dodgers or Pirates. Manny for Jason Bay is still not an even trade to me, no matter how much we try to talk ourselves into it. I wish Theo had been more aggressive and gone after Fuentes or Street even. and him saying that “we dont have the budget” is complete bullshit – we know how much they have in that budget – $50 mil just to bid on the rights to Dice-K? and he’s telling us they can’t afford Brian Fuentes?? give me a fucking break Theo.

    I just wish he could have gotten more at the deadline. I still feel like it’ll be an uphill battle just to contend for the wild card. none of us are in that clubhouse to know, but saying that Manny was such a terror that he caused everyone to play like a bunch of old ladies is a bullshit copout in my opinion.

  7. as an off-the-subject but sort of on the subject addendum to my last comment – I am almost ready to put Varitek in an assisted living facility. (don’t worry, a really nice facility though, not a smelly state-run facility). I just feel so BAD for him getting up there now – it really has gotten to a point of pity with me.

    also – have the dodgers said what the hell they are planning on DOING with Manny? there’s no DH, and they already have 3 starting outfielders, and uh…he can’t pitch.

  8. can you imagine though Sarah how much MORE awkward it would be if Manny had stayed? it’d be like that person in your group of friends that no one really likes, and you can’t figure out why they hang out with you. every time he’d come up to the plate I’d get confused like, do I cheer or do I boo? and Curt Schilling would have to be like, yeah you know all that shit I said about you, yeah, well…this is awkward.

  9. Lyndsay,
    You said yourself that the Red Sox didn’t give up much in the way of prospects but you still think they should have gotten more? If you are trying to dump a prima donna that you are tired of and prospects that you don’t value a great deal what more do you expect? The Red Sox were desperate to get rid of Manny and they still managed to get an extremely good player who is younger and will be under contract for next year. The Dodgers would have been much better off with Bay than Manny, this is a huge steal for Boston. Again they wanted to unload Manny and got great value in return. Jason Bay is a huge defensive upgrade who should have no problem adjusting to what is probably the easiest left field to cover in the majors. Bay is not the same level of hitter that Manny is but he is much younger and will still be a force in this lineup. So far this season he has 22 homers, 64 RBI and is batting .282 and slugging .515, by comparison Manny is hitting .299, slugging .529, with 20 homers and 68 RBI, pretty damned comparable. Bay is 29 and in case I forgot to mention it a huge defensive and base running upgrade. The Red Sox wanted rid of Manny and they were going to watch him walk at the end of the season if they didn’t unload him, to get Jason Bay in return is an extremely good deal. If you thought the Red Sox were going to make a deal with Colorado then you should have been willing to say good-bye to Bucholz and Ellsbury because that’s the level of players they wanted for their guys. Theo isn’t playing fantasy baseball and he got huge value for a guy he wanted to dump. Red Sox fans should start practicing their, Ja-son Bay, Ja-son Bay, chants.

  10. Nick Kapur says:

    Yeah, what Melissa said. People keep asking, how could the Sox trade all that away and only get Jason Bay?

    Which is ridiculous, because the Red Sox traded away a guy they didn’t want and two guys they didn’t even need or have a way to use, and got Jason Bay.

    I don’t even count the $7 million, because the Sox are going to make that back next year when they pay Jason Bay only $7.5 million.

    Plus, everyone is comparing Manny and Jason Bay, but they forget that this is only 2 months of Manny we are talking about here, vs. 8 months of Bay.

    So even if Jason bay has slightly less value than Manny (factoring in defense and baserunning), when you amortize that over 8 months, and consider what it would have cost the Red Sox to get that kind of production on the open market, that is some pretty nice value right there.

  11. I must say that I’m torn on this one. Manny was a player I always wanted on Boston and thought he would be here for the rest of his life. Sure the antics were a little much sometimes, but the three four punch of Manny and Papi were just a force to be reckoned with. It won’t be the same without him.

    Plus, while Hanson and Moss weren’t the greatest (I actually liked Moss and am a little sad to see him go), it seems to me a little much to give up those two and Manny and money just to get Bay. It sounds like Boston was just finally sick of dealing with Manny and open to anything they could get, especially in wake of Manny’s trade dare.

    The ease of that is the money situation will be better for Boston and we still get Bay which is great for us.

    All in all, I still am on the fence about this one. It’ll be hard not to see Manny going through the green monster to hit the head or take a phone call in the middle of play. He was a staple in the Boston outfield that I’ll miss.

  12. Melissa, you said a few things that are not exactly true about this situation, which I would like to point out:

    first off, this: “Bay is a huge defensive upgrade who should have no problem adjusting to what is probably the easiest left field to cover in the majors.”

    I wouldn’t call him a “huge” defensive upgrade. scouting report on him has him at an okay throwing arm at best. when Manny was making the effort, he was actually a good outfielder – could Bay have made the high-five play? doubtful.

    second, just because it’s short does not make it the easiest left field to play because of all the corners and playing balls off the wall – guys who have never played at Fenway before have been known to have trouble with it – example, last year’s ALCS, that corner had the Indians outfield confused and misjudging plays. Manny knew how to play balls off the wall and in the corners. add to the fact that Bay hasn’t batted against AL pitching and I see a period of adjustment here before he’s actually contributing. and I think you’re overblowing him here – he has a career batting average of .282. comparable to .312 MANNY? no way. he’s a JD Drew trade, not a Manny trade.

    I just would have liked if they had worked out getting an additional reliever in the mix.

  13. Nick Kapur says:

    Lyndsay, Manny’s big problem is range. He has the worst range of any left fielder in all of baseball, and it’s not even close. It’s not so much about throwing arm or high-fiving ability. Range is far more important, because if you can’t get to balls, they go from outs to hits, often extra base hits in the outfield. The reason why Fenway is easier for Manny to play is because he doesn’t have to cover as much ground. In other parks he is overmatched defensively. Bay has much better range than Manny (he used to play centerfield), so he does in fact represent a huge defensive upgrade.

    Also, I think the “adjusting to the AL” theme is overplayed. Typically, in recent years, hitters see about a 4% dropoff in production when they move from the NL to the AL. However, I suspect that much of this dropoff will be negated by Bay moving from PNC Park to Fenway for home games, and also being in a better lineup.

    Lastly, the batting average stat you cited is not impressive, first of all because it is batting average, but second of all because you are comparing the first half of Bay’s career to all of Manny’s, which includes all of Manny’s peak years, but only some of Bay’s. Manny is in decline now, so we are really comparing a near-peak Bay with a late-30s decline-phase Manny. Bay’s combined OPS for the last four years is over .900, and is very similar to Manny’s OPS over the last four years.

  14. Tom Hoffman says:

    Let’s not forget that aside from his ability with a bat, Manny has been a lazy, malingering, insubordinate, belligerant, royal migraine headache for the whole team, who have had to live with him everyday, sometimes defending themselves from his physical attacks and always listening to his bleating complaints about what a rotten place Boston is. He has certainly been a corrosive element to team morale. As the Herald so nicely pointed out “Sox Bid Bum Adieu: selfish slugger will fit in niocely in La-la land”

  15. is that any worse than Youkilis sending everyone’s equipment flying all over the place every time he strikes out? I think the “Manny is clubhouse cancer” theme is totally overblown.

  16. John Royal says:

    If you think Manny is the worst defensive left fielder in baseball, then you have obviously never watched Carlos Lee.

  17. Paul Moro says:

    John, Lee’s not THAT bad. Compared to Manny, he’s a gazelle out there covering ground. Carlos Lee has 40 out of zone plays in 844 innings. Manny has 14 in 537. That’s not even close. And Lee has a better revised zone rating as well. Plus, according to Justin Inaz’ popular fielding metrics, Manny has actually allowed 14 more runs to score so far than the average LFer. Lee’s at minus 0.53 runs so he’s not nearly as bad. Every fielding metric seems to indicate that Manny was the worst defensive LFer in baseball.

  18. Sarah Green says:

    Okay, okay, Nick, I have a tendency to automatically believe what you say when we talk about baseball and I have no internet handy. So yesterday when you told me over the phone that Bay was this fantastic defender, I believed you—but today, I read Amalie Benjamin’s piece in the Globe and she said his defense wasn’t that great. So I’ve just been looking over his fielding percentage, zone rating, and range factor, and all three are in the bottom half of MLB outfielders. He may be an upgrade over Manny—who, as Lyndsay points, out, had gotten to know Fenway’s quirky left field very well, and who surprised quite a few baserunners by getting the ball back to the infield very quickly—but he’s not the defensive whiz you led me to believe he was.

  19. It’s probably time to let this go but I ran across an article on Baseball Prospectus by Christina Kahrl and couldn’t resist.
    Here are some excerpts:
    “However much this wound up being a hail mary or an anticlimax, for the Red Sox, it’s a straightforward good move. As improbable as it may or may not be that Bay outproduces Ramirez for the balance of the year-as he has already this season, with an EqA of .319 to Manny’s .306-and as much chemistry gets either washed out or restocked or put in the right beakers or whatever metaphor you can torture on behalf of the clubhouse amity, this can be seen as a straightforward case of addition by addition. Bay’s six and a half years younger and as productive right now, as PECOTA’s MORP projections for both men reflect, and in the immediate future there’s every reason to expect Bay to be worth what you’d wind up paying and fulfill what you need from a mid-lineup bopper in left; Manny, not so much. As great as Manny’s past was, does anyone think he’s going to slug .600 again? Because if he doesn’t do that, you’ve got a player doing a lot of the same things Bay does, only with considerably more drama and expense, and with considerably worse defense, however much Red Sox Nation might have been inclined to trot out the standard “but he plays the Wall well” defense that has been a prop for bad-fielding Red Sox left fielders for decades.”

    “So, in short, Theo Epstein and company did it. The “prospects” they surrendered were filler players in danger of being crowded out of the 40-man, and Manny was the thorn in the franchise’s side who’d long since become infectious. As this proposition goes-lancing that wound, saving perhaps more than $20 million over the next two years, not hurting the lineup now while almost certainly helping it in the next season or two to come-taken together the benefits of the trade provide a range of outcomes to keep everyone happy: fans, statheads, bean-counters, and even player-development types worried about the Rule 5 draft. Consider this nothing short of a brilliant achievement, and the product of an inspired effort.”

    Going forward it appears to me that the Red Sox have upgraded the position and it’s going to cost them less. Bay is scheduled to make $7.5 million in 2009 and is then arbitration eligible. Would the Red Sox have been able to bring in a free agent in 2009 of Bay’s caliber at that price? Doubtful. I stand by my initial contention that Epstein pantsed the competition.

  20. Nick Kapur says:

    Sarah, in my defense, I never actually said that Jason Bay is fantastic on defense. I just said that he is a big improvement over Manny on defense. And let’s face it – who wouldn’t be? Almost anyone would be an improvement on defense over Manny, and Bay certainly is.

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