Should I offer congratulations to Red Sox fans, or condolences?
My instinct is to offer condolences to Dodger fans, to tell you the truth.From what I know about the '08 Dodgers, which is not a ton, any team in that weak division that can step up with definitive offense in the next month puts itself in a position to go to the postseason.And Manny is going to give you offense, provided he doesn't get hurt blah blah, so from an on-paper OPS standpoint, the Dodgers love their lineup right now.
But you can't dismiss that "provided" — Manny's 36, and now he can't be DHed.It's play him or sit him, no "get his bat in the line-up."It's safe to assume his D will look marginally less Keystone now that he doesn't have to negotiate the Monster, but 1) he played the Monster for eight years and didn't get much better at it that I could see than the day he showed up (Sox fans, correct me if need be), and 2) the knock on Manny in the field isn't so much that he can't play balls off the wall.Off the wall or not, he acts like he's not actually getting paid to field in a businesslike, invested manner.And I don't know how well he's protected in that lineup in the second place.If Barry Zito is permitted even to roll Manny the ball in 2008, I will eat my hat with hot sauce.
I loved the catch/high-five thing; I guess you can't have that without the flip side of that, which is the lying-on-the-ball, ha-ha-isn't-this-funny thing.I don't have a problem with players not treating the game like it's a memorial service; it's a game, it's entertainment, Manny is entertaining, and I get enough of the storied-history bushwa between innings on the YES Network.Nothing wrong with having fun out there.But Manny can't have it both ways either — I really don't feel like he's got the right to complain about the front office not taking his contract agita seriously when it's the middle of the season and he's pantsing around in the Monster making phone calls.And he doesn't have the right to complain about anything for the rest of the year after shoving a senior citizen to the ground, in my view, but he acted like the Sox had to put up with that, like they couldn't replace him.This, after they stayed in contention sans Ortiz and Schilling.Come on, dude.
This is what you have to deal with when Manny is on your team.He's a Hall ofFame hitter, I will absolutely not miss seeing him step into the box against Yankee pitching…I don't question his ability.I question whether he's worth the trouble at this point; let's not forget he got put on waivers a few years back (I forget which season).You have to act a pretty big fool for your club to sell you out like that; you have to act a pretty big fool for your club to say to L.A., basically, "Take him.We'll pay him, just…just take him, please."
And L.A.'s record with these big signings is…you know.Andruw Jones.This isn't nearly the "if we clap really hard, we can save Tinkerbell" level of delusion I think Chicago is suffering from, thinking Junior can play center every day at his age; no disrespect to Griffey, but even he has to be thinking, "Center field?But…see, on my baseball card?How I don't do that anymore?"Still: didn't the Dodgers need a shortstop to replace that other super-awesome Red Sock they got at the trade deadline a few years back?Why didn't they take Jason Bay — he's younger and less expensive.(Unless Bay didn't want to go to L.A."They played Juan Pierre every day. Please no.")
And what happens after this?Look, Manny is an all-time great hitter, but he's 36 years old and he's a known problem child.Only a half dozen teams could even afford him; he's just alienated one of them, another won't need him next year if Matsui can play, and I just don't see why any of the others would agree to a four-year deal with a guy who's made it clear he won't run out grounders if he doesn't get what he wants.That is not shit the manager wants to have to get out in front of once a week when he's trying to lead a team to the playoffs; that is not shit other players want to have to think about during a pennant race.And when he does start his decline, which he will, that is not shit that's worth it when you can get a 22-year-old to hit the same weight for a fraction of the price and not give you lip.
Let me put it another way: I don't like the Red Sox, but I have enormous respect for them as an organization.They did right trading Nomar, they did right dealing Damon (who is great, I love the guy, but the Sox have done fine without him and he's not exactly a minor child either), and I find it hard to believe that Theo didn't know exactly what he was doing here.
Tags: Dodgers Jason Bay just wondering Ken Griffey Jr. Manny Ramirez Nomah Red Sox