Leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, it was clear that the Red Sox needed a shake up. They were in a funk.
The other Red Sox players had grown tired of Manny Ramirez’s act. Lower paid teammates don’t like prima donnas who get special treatment. And Manny was already treated pretty differently anyway—he got paid a hell of a lot more money than the rest. That’s one of the reasons the Red Sox didn’t bring Pedro back. He played by his own set of rules—just like Manny.
And Sox management may have felt even more compelled to act as they watched rival A.L. teams rapidly improve with wise deals.
The Angels had already proven themselves a better team—even before they got Mark Texiera. And after acquiring Xavier Nady and lefty Damaso Marte, the Yankees then acquired Pudge Rodriguez in another trade. Both franchises had upgraded their ball clubs while the Sox stood pat. The Yankee moves, in particular, made Brian Cashman look like a genius.
So when the Angels, who had just swept the Sox in consecutive series, landed the best player available, the A.L.’s best team got even better. That, coupled with the Yanks’ bold moves, made the Sox feel compelled to do something. They simply had to act after losing eight of twelve games after the break. The team looked flat, as if Ramirez had completely drained them.
Indeed, Manny forced the Sox' hand. The relationship was way beyond repair.
The current ownership/management group didn’t sign him and never liked his massive, long-term contract. They had wanted to be free of it, and him, for quite some time. Jason Bay for Manny, straight up, was not an even trade. It showed just how much the Sox wanted to rid themselves of Manny.
But Bay has certainly given a fine accounting of himself in his first two games in Boston, reaching base safely in six of his first 11 at-bats, including a triple, a homer, four runs, and three RBI.
And how about this contrast in the first game of the Post-Manny Era:
Jason Bay reached base safely four times, including a triple in the bottom of the 12th, ultimately scoring the winning run.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers ninth-inning rally fizzled when Manny grounded into a double play during a 2-1 defeat against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Dodger Stadium.
Poetic justice? Perhaps. An omen of things to come in Boston? We can only hope.
So far, the Post-Manny Era isn’t shaping up too badly for the Red Sox after all.
Copyright © 2008 Sean M. Kennedy. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's consent.