Friday, August 1, 2008

Chavez Ravine has become "Mannyland"

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The original Red Sox Christmas present has just walked out the door; taking with him two others in a three-way trade with the Dodgers and the Pirates. the guy in return - Pirates OF Jason Bay. Not a big name but a solid occasional All-Star who's been in the NL all of his career. I had to let this whole idea of this trade sink in before commenting on it.

At first, I thought that the Sox gave up too much. Moss has shown brief flashes of being a solid player for years to come. Hansen, though, has gone from closer savior to 8th inning setup man with closer-quality to a BP pitcher. And while Manny was not hitting his usual .340, 30+, 70+, he was still a feared hitter and great protection for Big Papi. At best, they come away a wash on the deal; at worse, there are now bigger holes in both the batting order, less options from the bench and a dire lack of arms in the 'pen.

But after sleeping on it and reading some organizational insight from The Globe's Nick Carfaldo, it was apparent that this move was for the future good of the team. Manny definitely wanted out of Boston (based on his numerous quotables) and decided to hold his breath until he got his way. At least Bay is on the hook for one more year and is a total and direct opposite of a malcontent. In terms of fielding and base-running, Bay will be a solid upgrade; albeit not as adventurous or lackadaisical as the once patroller of The Wall's front lawn.

It's very hard to see a future 1st ballot HOF go to the Red Sox - Left Coast Division but it was obvious it will be the best for all in involved. The Sox can now concentrate on completing in the very tough AL playoff race, The Pirates start their perpetual Building for the Future (which they been doing since 1993) and the Dodgers get a solid clean-up hitter with so many quirks that the only place he could fit in is one where fantasy and reality are in constant flux.

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