The Sox struggled mightily down the stretch, both OFFENSIVELY and defensively (pitching). Offensively, what changed? No Manny Ramirez, no production. The sanctimonious buzzards (polite words) of the press want somebody who busts his tail every time he grounds out to short, and puts up big numbers. He must also communicate as effectively as say, Mike Greenwell, a media darling who averaged 10 homers and 60 RBI his last SIX seasons in Boston, and played left field as though he needed a helmet.Let's recite the reasons Manny Must Go.
- He doesn't run out every groundball (see Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski).
- He's overpaid. Almost everyone in baseball is overpaid.
- He doesn't produce enough. Compared to Hank Aaron or Willie Mays? Similar batters through age 34 at Baseball Reference include Griffey, Juan Gonzalez, Bagwell, Frank Robinson, Mays, Frank Thomas, Bonds, Mantle, Snider, and Thome. All except Gonzalez won't have to buy tickets to Cooperstown.
- He's a bad interview. Wait, the scribes don't say that in their columns, or do they? I have it on direct information that Manny wouldn't grant interviews to at least one writer. I don't care if Manny becomes Steve Carlton.
- Other players are unhappy that Manny receives special treatment. And I imagine that every player on every team gets treated equally.
- They can't win with Manny. What about that World Series monkey off the Sox back?
The Sox needed to dump A-Gone and get more offense at shortstop (again the Lugo Lust), and at the same time replace one of the top run producers of this generation with GOK (God only knows).
You can't really whine about the Sox as currently constituted, because Terry Francona couldn't pencil in the starting lineup for April without a Ouija board and LSD. We can reasonably expect Jason Varitek to catch and David Ortiz to DH, but beyond that, it's pretty much a crap shoot.We know Gary Matthews, Jr. won't be in center, because the Angels gave him 50 million reasons to go west. That would seem to diminish the likelihood of the halos trading half their roster for Manny, although an outfield of Manny, Matthews, and Vlad would impress even the most diehard eastern baseball fan.
Other than uncertainty up the middle (other than Varitek), limited power at the corners, worse defense (any shortstop replacement means worse defense), no closer, and an unproven bullpen the Sox, OUR SOX are ready to compete for their second championship in four years.I'm not saying that the Red Sox should overspend for mediocrity.
They've proven willing to open up the checkbook in the Matsuzaka posting, and by even negotiating with Lugo, they've proven, er...something.
(Monthly Commodity Research Bureau price chart with 20 period average, from Prophet.net)
But as John Henry knows, we've been in a commodity bull market, and baseball players are the ultimate sports commodities.