The final day before the trading deadline was an eventful one. Though no top-level players changed hands, a good deal of players will be donning new uniforms the next time they take the field. The Los Angeles Dodgers traded Josh Bell and Steve Johnson for Baltimore closer George Sherrill. The Pirates traded John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny to the Cubs for Kevin Hart, Josh Harrison, and Jose Ascanio. The Royals only needed to send cash considerations to the Tigers to obtain Josh Anderson.
Deals to look out for tomorrow: Roy Halladay talks are “dead” according to J.P. Ricciardi, though the team is open to discussing deals tomorrow. The Rangers, Angels, and Red Sox are still in the hunt. Padres closer Heath Bell may be on the move as well. The Marlins are reportedly interested, but are unwilling to part with the players San Diego wants. Bell’s teammate Adrian Gonzalez is also said to be the subject of heated talks between the Padres and Sox, but no deal is iminent.
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The ‘Manny Being Manny’ circus will no longer be a part of the everyday talks in Boston as the 36-year old left-fielder was traded right before yesterday’s 4pm deadline to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a three team blockbuster deal.
Throughout the day, talks circled around a three team negotiation that would send Manny Ramirez out of Boston but these discussions appeared to be dormant around 2pm and dead by 3:30pm. The original teams involved in the talks were rumored to be Boston, Pittsburgh and Florida but apparently Florida dropped out of the negotiations in the mid afternoon hours which allowed for the Los Angeles Dodgers to jump in.
The three teams worked quickly and were able to pull off a last minute deal which sends Ramirez to the Dodgers. Boston relief pitcher Craig Hansen and OF prospect Brandon Moss go to the Pittsburgh Pirates as well as LA’s 3B Andy LaRoche and pitching prospect Bryan Morris. In return, the Pirates send OF Jason Bay to Boston to fill Ramirez’s spot in left field.
With the deal done, all three organizations feel like they are winners in the trade. LA fills the void of a power bat in their line up with Ramirez and hopefully takes some pressure off of Andruw Jones who has struggled in the clean up spot all season long. Pittsburgh receives four young prospects and no longer has to worry about the large contract that Bay was carrying for next season. Boston receives a younger outfielder that has proven himself in the National League as a dependable hitter with a great lifetime on base percentage, and rids themselves of all of the drama surrounding Ramirez in the clubhouse.
One person who is very excited about the trade is Dodgers manager, former Yankees skipper as well, Joe Torre.
“When a player like Manny becomes available, I don’t think there’s a manager in baseball who wouldn’t say they’re interested,” said Torre, whose Yankees teams went toe-to-toe with Ramirez for years. “Manny’s certainly not a simple personality, that’s for sure. He’s complex. But I’ve seen him when he competes.
Torre saw Ramirez compete many times in the Red Sox vs. Yankees games and knows just what kind of raw hitting talent and power he possesses every time he swings the bat.
Former teammates of Ramirez are also happy to see that he will be joining them on the West Coast for the final two months of the season.
“It’s nice to see we’ve done something like this, to make a push for the next two months,” said Nomar Garciaparra who played with Ramirez in Boston from 2000 until he was traded in 2004. “He’ll be just fine. Manny is really a simple person. He works extremely hard. He just wants to play baseball and go home and be with his family. How can you not respect and love a guy like that?”
Another familiar face, Derek Lowe, knows that his new teammate can be a little goofy at times but he believes his career numbers allow for his antics to take place occasionally.
“I think people for some reason think he’s lazy and a bad teammate and that he doesn’t care,” Lowe said. “He’s none of the above. Does he do some goofy things? Absolutely. He does do some goofy things. But as far as preparation and knowing the game and wanting to win, there’s no way you put up those numbers year in and year out unless you’re a special talent and work at it. And he does both.”
Ramirez hit his 500th home run earlier this season, was batting .299 and led the Red Sox with 20 homers and 68 RBIs. He is one of only eight players to hit at least 20 homers in 14 consecutive seasons.
So now that the deal is officially in the books, let’s take a look at the winners, losers and everything in between from this move.
Big Winner: Los Angeles Dodgers – They get one of baseballs best power hitters for almost nothing, AND they don’t even have to pay him because part of the agreement was the Red Sox will pick up the remaining $7 million dollars owed in this year’s contract.
Winner: Boston Red Sox – Finally the adventures in left field, the Fenway Park clubhouse and media room will be coming to an end. The charismatic Ramirez is out of town and the Sox welcome a clean cut player in Bay to their organization. He may not hit for the same power numbers as Ramirez but he runs and fields better, hustles more, and most importantly, he cares.
Not a Winner Yet, But Definitely Not a Loser: Pittsburgh Pirates – Whenever you trade a proven player for prospects you’re not going to be looked at as a winner right away but there’s always that chance that the prospects become stars. They may have traded away Bay but five years ago Bay was traded to them as a prospect and look how he turned out. Give Moss and LaRoche a few years and they could be everyday players that can produce some pretty decent numbers.
Very Happy: The guys who work behind the Green Monster – Finally they can do their job in peace without Ramirez poking his head inside there every other pitch.
Not so Happy: David Ortiz – For his entire time with the Red Sox he’s had the protection of Ramirez’s bat either right in front of behind him in the lineup. Now with the slugger out of town the power hitting lefty may not be seeing as many good pitches and his walks will increase but extra base hits may drop.
Ecstatic – New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays – The most feared hitter in Boston’s lineup is out of town and they no longer have to worry about seeing him again unless they face him in the World Series. Over the years in Boston, Ramirez compiled 55 homeruns against New York and 38 against Tampa Bay so with him out of the league these two franchises couldn’t be any happier.
The fact that Manny’s not going to be in left field tonight at Fenway Park may take some time getting used to for Red Sox fans. Some will miss the tossing of his glove 10 feet over his head in between pitches, or the ridiculous underhand throws into second base after casually jogging down hits in the corner, random dives to cutoff balls thrown by his own outfield teammates, or even the occasional homerun pose after he makes solid contact with a ball that ends up staying in the yard and forces him to bust hard all the way into second for a double.
That was just Manny being Manny, and as much of a distraction as he’d become, its something that the fans of Red Sox nation will miss. That and not to mention his bat in our lineup, but this is not the first trade that GM Theo Epstein has made at the deadline that fans did not understand right away; ex. Nomar in 2004, but hopefully it pans out as the others did and the Sox find themselves back in the post-season.
Manny’s time in Boston will not be forgotten. Now that it’s all said and done with, the only thing that the Fenway Faithful can do is say thank you for his 7 ½ years of service. He was a big part of not one, but two World Series Championship clubs and over the years provided that flair that reminded fans that baseball is a sport that can still be fun, even if he sometimes acted like a 36-year old going on five.
See ya later Manny.
On the same day in which Manny told ESPN Deportes that the he loved Boston fans but that “the Red Sox do not deserve a player like me”, the Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Florida Marlins worked tirelessly on a blockbuster trade. The move would send Jason Bay to Boston, Manny to Florida, and Marlins’ outfielder Jeremy Hermida to the Pirates. Bay’s solid numbers would certainly help to fill the hole in the lineup that Manny would leave.
The trade would also include a number of prospects, and possibly cash, so it is nowhere near a done deal yet. A Sox official confirmed that the deal is in the works, but that “This is anything but done”. Manny did not seem optimistic that the trade would be finished.
“If something happens, it will not be tonight,” said Ramirez yesterday. “And frankly, I don’t think that will ever happen. Let’s wait if something happens before 4 p.m. Thursday.”
Facing the possibility of losing two starting players in Jorge Posada and Hideki Matsui for the year, the New York Yankees sured up some offense and finally picked up a left handed reliever to help in their second half Pennant chase in the AL East. In a deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates the Yankees picked up Right Fielder Xavier Nady who is having a fine offensive year with a .330 average and 13 home runs. Nady should pick up much of Matsui’s slack in left field. The Yankees also put left hander Damaso Marte in their bullpen with this trade.
The Yankees sent four minor leaguers to the Pirates including pitcher Russ Ohlendorf. The Yankees are still awaiting final word on both Posada and Matsui. Both players are mulling season ending surgery.
The Yankees are currently playing the Boston Red Sox in the first of a three game series. Game 2 of Red Sox vs Yankees will take place on Saturday July 26 at 3:55pm.
After making it through the top of the 3rd inning, the rains came and washed out the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals in their season opener. The defending NL Champions were trailing 5-1 at the time the game was called but it will all be erased and replayed at a later date.
The Arizona Diamondbacks still have a bitter taste in their mouth after being swept last October in the NLCS by the Colorado Rockies. Taking the field for the first time since that playoff series, the defending NL West Champions looked very solid in a 4-2 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Brandon Webb picked up right where the 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner left off pitching 6 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits in route to his first victory of the year. The offensive attack was led by three solo bombs hit by Chris Young and Eric Byrnes in the 3rd inning and the other hit by Jeff Salazar in a PH at bat in the 7th that gave the D-Backs some breathing room with a 2 run cushion. Brandon Lyon recorded the save pitching a perfect 9th inning.
It was a pitchers duel for 8 innings in Chicago at Wrigley Field between the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers before both teams came to life for 3 run 9th inning performances, but it was the Brewers who would prevail with a 4-3 victory in 10 innings. Corey Hart lifted the Brewers with a 2 RBI double in the ninth that put them ahead 3-0. Closer Eric Gagne came in and suffered his first blown save of the season (surprise, surprise) by allowing a three-run home run to Cubs RF Kosuke Fukudome, the first of his major league career, which knotted the game at 3-3. In the 10th inning, Tony Gwynn Jr. hit a sac-fly that plated Craig Counsell for the game winning run for the Brewers. David Riske pitched a perfect 10th frame and recorded the save.
With 5 runs on 5 hits in the top of the 9th inning, the Washington Nationals turned a close game into a statement win in their 11-6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies yesterday at Citizens Bank Park. Nick Johnson’s RBI double opened the flood gates for National bats, and the hits just kept on coming as the team chased out Phillies closer Tom Gordon after allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits and only recording 1 out. Austin Kearns and Lastings Milledge each produced 2 hits and 2 RBI’s for the Nationals in the win. The Phillies were led by SS Jimmy Rollins who went 2-4 on the game with a pair of RBI’s and a HR.
Behind the arm of Johan Santana, the New York Mets captured their first victory of the 2008 season over the Florida Marlins with a 7-2 win. Santana struck out 8 and allowed only 3 hits over 7 innings. The one mistake he made came in the 4th inning when he allowed a two-run homer to Josh Willingham. After the HR, Santana would only allow two runners to reach base. The Mets scored 6 of their 7 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning, led by a bases clearing double by 3B David Wright. Wright went 2-4 with 3 RBI’s for the game. New York’s bullpen worked a scoreless 8th and 9th to preserve the win for Santana, Mark Hendrickson suffered the loss for Florida.
Brad Penny pitched 6 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball, and the Los Angeles Dodgers back it up with some early runs that would be hold up for a 5-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants. Barry Zito struggled for the Giants allowing 3 runs in the 1st inning and another in the 2nd. He last only 5 innings and was pulled after 87 pitches and allowing 8 hits. The Dodgers runs in the 1st came on a Matt Kemp RBI single, followed by a Jeff Kent two-run blast to deep left-center field. SS Rafael Furcal also added three hits in the winning effort.
The Atlanta Braves came up just short, twice, in a thrilling 12-11 twelve innings game that ended with the Pittsburgh Pirates on top. The Braves mustered up a 5 run 9th inning to tie the game at 9-9 and left the winning run on base. After a few scoreless innings, the Pirates were able to score three runs in the 12th on Xavier Nady three-run homer to dead center field. The Braves made things interesting scoring 2 in the bottom of the 12th on a Jeff Francoeur solo shot and an RBI single by Matt Diaz but stranded the tying run on base to suffer their second loss of the season. Tom Glavine pitched well for the Braves but took a no decision with 5 innings pitched, 7 hits and 1 earned run allowed. Pirates relief pitcher, Franquelis Osoria, pitched from the 10th inning on, and finished the game for the win.
Jake Peavy helped his own cause by going 1-1 at the plate with 2 RBI’s and then made those runs stand up by pitching 7 scoreless innings in San Diego’s 4-0 victory over the Houston Astros. 2B Tadahito Iguchi paced a balanced offensive attack for the Padres with 3 hits on the night. The Astros looked rusty at the plate only collecting 4 hits in the contest, 2 of them coming from newly acquired SS Miguel Tejada. Row Oswalt took the loss for Houston, scattering 11 hits and 3 strike outs over 5 and 1/3 innings worked.
While everyone’s eyes, ears, and …. imaginations have been focused on where Johan Santana would end up, the American League hot stove has been quietly churning. Here is a quick recap of some moves to date. (more)
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