Manny who?

Manny, Manny, Manny.  We always knew you were an idiot, but this?

By now, everyone in the Baseball, heck the whole sports world, knows that Manny Ramirez, the highly paid outfielder for the LA Dodgers, has been suspended, without pay, for 50 games for failing a Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) test.  He becomes the biggest name to have been suspended since active testing began.  It’s a first time failure, hence the “mere” 50 game ban.  Bet the McCourt’s and Dodger’s brain trust are loving this.  Especially after all the hoopla in the offseason before he resigned with Los Angeles.

Now, for those of us who have watched Manny since he came up with the Indians way back when, we knew he was mercurial at best, and down right looney at worst.  While he never went to such strangeness in Cleveland as he did in Boston, he still had those “Manny being Manny” moments.  He’s always been one to just be in his own world, be it on or off the field.  He just did his own thing, and never a care for who thought what of him.

Even so, this PED test failure comes as a bit of a shock.  Unlike many others who have been linked to various PEDs, Manny was not one of them.  Even with his strange behaviors, no one ever made any sort of even vaguely sustainable links between Ramirez and PEDs.  Now, one could argue now that PED’s are the cause of much of Manny’s behavior quirks.  But IMO that’s just hind sight.  No, I think this is just as Manny said in his statement, he was an idiot.  He should have done more checking on what he was being given, and if it would fall under the banned substance rules of MLB.  He admits to this in his statement, and accepts “responsibility” for his actions, and will not challenge the suspension.  Oh, and he does have a point, in that he has passed some 15 previous PED tests administered by MLB.  So, in the absence of any further information, I will take Manny at his word (such that it is).  He’s taking his lumps, and that should be that.

I found it unsurprising that the media rather than talking primarily to the Dodgers, instead went to Boston.  After all the drama that surrounded Manny and his exit from the Red Sox, it was obviously where reporters thought they’d get some sort of sallacious details.  Unfortunately for them, the Sox weren’t so obliging.  Yes, Dustin Pedroia talked a bit, as did David Ortiz, and Terry Francona.  Yet in each case, they weren’t all that interested in giving scandalous details to reporters, even if they had any.  The general gist of the comments can be summed up as: “Manny’s in LA, not in Boston.  He’s not here, so why should we talk about him?”

This leads me to the man who “replaced” Manny Ramirez in Left Field for the Sox, one Jason Bay.  While Bay did not put up those lights out kind of numbers Manny could after he came over from Pittsburgh, he did more than enough to cement himself as an important part of the Red Sox team.  But his start this year has been outstanding.  He’s produced in the clutch (take that Mariano Rivera!), has been getting on base consistently (tied for the MLB lead in walks), driving in runs, and swiping the occasional bag with ease.  Further more, he’s as far removed from Manny personality wise as one could possibly get.  Not to mention a better defensive Left Fielder.  Bay is a fairly quiet (but not reclusive) player, who prefers to let his efforts on the field speak for themselves.  He’s much more a team player than Manny, and not one to seek, or even be found on the tabloid pages.  Basically, he’s the ideal Red Sox player.

So, like many in Red Sox nation, I’ll keep saying “Manny who” anytime he gets mentioned.

MLB Trade Deadline 2008

Well, it’s now the end of non-waiver trades in MLB.  Some surprising moves were made.  The biggest being the end of the “Manny-Era” in Boston.

Manny Ramirez, the mercurial OF for the Sox, was shipped off to the land of granola (all fruits and nuts), while the Sox got Jason Bay, and the Pirates got a bevy of prospects.  This was the block buster of the day, and perhpas the season, trumping even CC Sabathia going to Millwaukee. 

Manny had to go.  He had quit on the team, supposedly to “punish management,” which made him expendable not only to the brain trust, but to his teammates as well.  I doubt even Big Poppi could defend Manny after his antics the past few weeks.  So now Manny is Joe Torre’s problem with the Dodgers in LA.  Can’t wait to see how Manny and Larry Bowa get along.  Yes, the Sox gave up alot to get rid of Manny, they’re paying his salary, and gave up Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss as well.  The Dodgers gave up Andy Laroche, and another prospect to the Pirates, who sent their star OF Jason Bay to Boston.

I actually kind of like this deal.  The Sox get Bay, who is under contract for next year, and get rid of Manny, his antics, and the headache.  The money really isn’t an issue, as they’d have been paying it if Manny had stayed.  The Dodgers get a HoF hitter to help bolster their line up, and don’t have to pay him. The Pirates really make out on this deal.  They get four players, trim their payroll slightly, and get set for having a solid team for the next 4-5 years.  This makes up for them getting ripped off by the Yankees in the Nady/Marte deal.

The Yankees meanwhile picked up Pudge Rodriguez for Kyle Farnsworth.  This is an intriguing deal, as the two were exchanged straight up.   With Jorge Posada going down for the season (and perhaps longer, depending on his surgery), the Yanks were in the market for a solid all round catcher. The Tigers have been fading a bit, and seem to be very comfortable with Brandon Inge at catcher.  In return for Pudge, the Tigers got a much needed reliever, one that had become expendedable in NY, and was finally getting his act together.  Expect Fransworth to close some games the rest of the way for the Tigers. 

The Brave’s actually dealt Mark Teixeira.  Yes, this means that the Brave’s are surrendering this season and next.  The Angels make out good with this deal, as Teixeira is a big time upgrade at 1B over Casey Kotchman, offensively and defensively.  The Braves do get younger, and Kotchman is cheaper, and under contract for the next few years.  The Halos will be very, very tough down the stretch, and in the post season. 

Strangest deal was Junior Griffey going to the White Sox.  this one makes very little sense to me.  Other than giving Junior a shot at a ring (which he deserves), thsi doesn’t make much baseball sense.  The White Sox are set at the corner OF poisitons (Carlos Quentin and Jermaine Dye), and Junior isn’t all that great in CF anymore, and hasn’t played there regularly in years.  The DH slot isn’t much of an option either with Jim Thome entrenched there.  I understand that Junior and the White Sox GM (whose neame escpaes me ATM, Ken Williams?), have a relationship going back a while, but even still.  This one seems to be just about giving a bone to Junior.

And that was about it.  The two earlier trades for pitchers, Sabathia to Milwaukee, Rich Harden to the Cubs, weren’t deadline deals, though were significant.  As ESPN called it, this was a “dud line.” 

I was suprised that certain players did not get moved.  Jack Wilson from the Pirates, Brian Fuentes from the Rockies, Jeremy Hermidia from Florida, were all rumored to be going.  None of them moved.  I was more surprised that the Brave’s didn’t deal Jeff Francouer.  I would have thought he had all but worn out his welcome in Atlanta.  He may yet go, but probably not untill the off season.  Some talked about guys like George Sherrill in Baltimore, but I doubted he would move, not after the Bedard trade which brought him to Baltimore, unless a team really overwhelmed the O’s with an offer.  Dealing may not yet be done, but any deal will involved players needing to clear waivers before being traded.