This offseason has been Manny, Manny, Manny. The Sox seems as though they're trying to move him. Of course, trade rumors being "broken" by news companies can hardly be treated as real news. Often, a simple rumor or suggestion is floated around and someone reports it publicly.
The fact of the matter is, Theo and the Sox are always trying to improve the team and have demonstrated a willingness to trade "franchise players" to do that. (See: Nomar Garciaparra)
There's dozens of rumors floating around the internet and ESPN and WEEI. Some are probably without any base. Some of them are blatantly lopsided for one team or another. Some of them are probably actual offers that have been discussed, but probably won't go beyond the discussion phase.
I just don't see us trading Manny Ramirez, at least not trading him by himself.
I'm somewhat alone in this one. It seems as though every sports reporter who has "sources" is claiming Manny WILL get traded, probably by Saturday. The problem is, they all say he will get traded to different places. Gammons seems to think a deal with the White Sox will occur. Buster Olney says that the Dodgers, Padres, and Giants are the front-runners to land him. Michael Silverman says it is the Rangers or Angels. Gordon Edes reiterated the Angels, Padres, and Giants and also added the Phillies, Orioles, and Mets.
In short, almost every team with the capacity to spend money is reportedly going to get Manny Ramirez.
Fueling the trade talk is the impending signing of JD Drew to a deal that will probably give the lefty somewhere close to $15 million per year for 4 or 5 years. People are saying he is a replacement for Manny. That notion reminds me of when the Sox signed Jose Offerman as a replacement for Mo Vaughn.
JD Drew, ladies and gentlemen, is not even close to Manny Ramirez's level. JD Drew is closer to Trot Nixon's.
If the Sox shell out $15M per season to Drew, they'll essentially be saving $5M from what they would be paying Manny. Of course, any deal Manny is a part of will probably involve the Red Sox picking up some of his $20M salary for the next two seasons. So that little chunk of money saved by going with Drew would be gone. Also, Manny will cost the Sox $40M over the next two years, whereas Drew could be holding down $60M over the next 5 years. We trade one big contract for another.
Then there's the dropoff in production. Of course, it is impossible to predict what Drew's production will be in 2007, or 2008, and so on. But if his past is any indicator, it is safe to say his numbers will fluctuate wildly. Drew's RBI totals for full seasons played (400 ABs or more) range from as low as 56 to as high as 100. His average in all seasons has had both up and down swings of 50 and 70 points.
I'll give JD Drew this much, recently he has showed some signs of stability in terms of production. His average has mellowed to the .285 to .300 range. Also, his OBP has been pretty good the past few years.
But then there's the question of health. We all know Manny Ramirez is a variable in that sometimes he decides not to play. But Drew is just as much of a variable, if not more of one, because of injuries. Drew has only had one season with 500 ABs or more, Manny has had 8 in his 14 year career. JD Drew has reached 135 games 4 times in 8 full-time seasons. Manny has reached 135 games 9 times in 12 full-time seasons.
A lot of people are getting paranoid about Matsuzaka's injury vulnerability because he has thrown so many pitches in his young career. But not as many voices have chirped up about JD Drew's vulnerability.
Look, we all get annoyed when Manny isn't trying and takes time off. But isn't the effect of that almost the same thing as an injury? It seems to me like we'd be missing JD Drew a lot due to injury.
Then just look at the production. Manny, ironically, is one of the most dependable production players in the game. You're going to get around 40 homers and around 120 RBI form him year in and year out. His lowest average in a full-time season was .292. He almost always is around the .300 to .325 range. His OPS is always hovering around or above 1.000. He is a producer.
JD Drew is not a producer, at least not yet. Last year was his first season with 100 RBI. Manny, over his career, has an RBI every 4.34 at-bats. JD Drew has one every 6.21. That means that approximately every 3 RBI Manny gets, JD Drew gets 2. That adds up.
Drew is hardly even an upgrade over Trot Nixon. Yet Drew might get twice as much as Nixon got last season. Both are lefthanded outfielders with recurring injury problems who never reached their potential and absolutely suck against left-handed pitching.
JD Drew is just not the best option for us, folks. For the amount of money he'll get, and the amount of time he'll spend on the DL, and the amount of time he'll struggle against lefties, and the amount of time he won't produce as much as Manny, he is just not worth it.
If we trade Manny Ramirez, we're losing a great deal of production. Signing JD Drew and Julio Lugo will not replace that production. We can absorb the impact of lost production by signing better pitchers. However, this off-season should be about improving offensive production as we only scored 820 runs last year. We should be scoring 900 and up. Instead, it looks like we might be scrambling and spending to keep our offensive production where it was in 2006.
LUCHINO GOES TO JAPAN
Sounds like a really bad Italian kids movie. The Sox made a "fair" and "comprehensive" offer to Matsuzaka. Still no word yet on how fair it was and how fair Boras and Matsuzaka think it was. There's a rumor that the Seibu Lions might be willing to chop off some of the posting fee in order to help facilitate a deal between the Sox and Matsuzaka, as well. We have little more than two weeks to sign Daisuke.
And for the love of the Baseball Gods, can we throw out the nickname "Dice-K"? That's such a stupid and moronic nickname. And why do we even need to give him a nickname? Are we going to confuse him with the other Daisuke we have on the team. How come we don't use his nickname in Japan. The Monster. I like that one. It's also a nice tribute to the late Dick Radatz.
And can we stop worrying over how many pitches Daisuke threw over in Japan. I'm sick and tired of all this Baseball Prospectus BS. You know they actually came up with a stat to determine how much wear a pitcher's arm had on it. Come On! Everybody's arm is different, and everybody pitches a different way. There's no way to accurately gauge every pitcher's wear and tear based on some universal stat.
SEAU OUT FOR SEASON
After injuring his arm, Junior Seau is officially out for the season and is perhaps done for his career. Seau came into Sunday's game 2nd on the team in tackles with 69, tailing only Teddy Bruschi.
With seau gone, the Pats will most likely shift Vrabel back inside and use Banta-Cain on the outside. Larry Izzo and Don Davis could also see some time in the inside.
BRADY'S BIG JUKE OF URLACHER
The play of the game on Sunday was Tom Brady's 11 yard scramble for a 1st down in which he made Brian Urlacher miss.
It's important to note that Urlacher seemed to hold up just a little bit as he was approaching Brady. Most QBs would give themselves up and dive there, but Brady kept going for the 1st down. Urlacher, who is a smart player, knew that if he hit Brady after he dove, there would probably be a flag resulting in an automatic 1st down. The NFL has cracked down, a bit too harshly, on people hitting the QB. It was a great, smart, brave play by Brady, but it wasn't as if he totally schooled Urlacher And 1 mix-tape style.