Manny Ramirez 3-Way Trade Analysis
by Tony Aubry, BaseballEvolution.com
August 1, 2008

After years of bickering and Manny being, well, Manny, the 36-year old Boston outfielder has finally been traded. Yesterday, it was announced that Manny would be headed across the country to play for the Dodgers after he was dealt in a 3-team trade that also involved the Pirates. Here is how it went down:

Red Sox get: Jason Bay
Dodgers get: Manny Ramirez
Pirates get: Brandon Moss (Bos), Craig Hansen (Bos), Andy LaRoche (LA), Bryan Morris (LA)

Before Sox fans go all batty and fear whether they will go to the post-season or not, they need to take a good look at who they got in return, and that is Jason Bay. Many fans may not know (especially fans of American League teams) how good of a hitter Bay really is. He suffered a very down year in 2007, but has rebounded nicely this season and had notched an OPS above .900 for three consecutive seasons before that horrible 2007 campaign. As a hitter, Bay does everything well. He hits for average, is a very disciplined hitter, and has awesome power. When you factor in defense, Bay is a notch, if that, below Manny at this point in his career. Another plus for the Red Sox is that they have Bay locked up for 2009 as well, rather than declining Mannyís option and being forced to look elsewhere for a left fielder. Even if you combine the $7 million they have to pay for Manny and Bayís $9 million salary next year, they will in all likelihood get more bang for their buck from the 30-year old left fielder than they would have gotten from the left-fielder in dreadlocks. Bay will, however, have to adjust to a better league, and play under the bright lights of Boston, but I imagine a player of his caliber should be able to do so. If the Red Sox donít make the playoff this year, despite what Red Sox fans and ESPN will tell you, the drop off in offense from Manny to Bay probably wonít be the reason why.

From the Dodgers point of view, not only do they improve by adding Manny's bat into their lineup, but they also improve by getting Pierreís (279/.325/.316) and Jonesí (.167/.258/.250!) the hell out of there. Iím with the people that believe Manny will have his head on somewhat straight in LA for a couple reasons. One of them is that he is in the final year of his contract, and at age 36, he will have to perform very well for teams to consider giving him a multi-year contract next off-season. The other reason is Joe Torre. I was never a big fan of what he did on the field, but it has been well-documented that he is a player's manager, that he is very easy to play for, and that he did handle the whole Jeter/A-Rod fiasco that went on for a couple of seasons pretty darn well.

Suddenly, the Dodgers, who are a single game behind the division-leading Diamonbacks, are poised to win the division. Manny could very well be the shot in the arm that jump-starts the Dodgers, who have been moving one step forward and one step back for pretty much the entire season.

In the middle of all this are the Pirates, and it has become quite obvious that new GM Neal Huntington has his mind set on replenishing his farm system. Just about a week after prying away Jose Tabata from the Yankees, whose grip on the 19-year old prospect had seemed to loosen in the past 12 months, they stockpile four more young guns: two from the Red Sox, and two from the Dodgers. The Sox gave up outfielder Brandon Moss and right-handed fire-baller Craig Hansen. In order for the Dodgers to acquire Man-Ram they dealt hotshot prospect Andy LaRoche and Bryan Morris.

Brandon Moss doesnít seem like he will pan out to be anything more than a 4th outfielder. He has average range with an above average arm in right and is a not-so-solid batter. For a corner outfielder, he doesnít have a lot of power (career high of 16 HR in AAA), and for someone who does not have awesome power, he strikes out an awful lot and isnít a very patient hitter.

If Hansen can solve his control issues, considering the Pirates just traded away Damaso Marte, there is a chance that he could be closing for the team in 2009. He has a great mid-to-high 90s fastball, but he is problem is his slider, which can be dominant at times and erratic at others.

The 21-year old Bryan Morris came over from the Dodgers along with Andy LaRoche. He is still a long ways away from making it to the big stage, but there is a lot to like. As a 19-year old in rookie ball, he whiffed 79 batters in only 60 innings using his big breaking curve ball and solid low 90s heater. In 2008, he returned after missing all of 2007 due to Tommy John surgery and has bounced backed nicely. His strikeout numbers arenít as big, but still impressive (72 in 81 IP). Yet his control has improved, and he is still showing that he is capable of keeping the ball in the yard. In 141 career minor league innings, he has only given up eight homers.

The biggest player that the Pirates got is without a doubt Andy LaRoche. Andy is a third baseman who has gotten praise for quite some time, and rightfully so. I was honestly shocked when I heard that the Dodgers had acquired Blake from the Indians, which I thought would spell doom for LaRocheís development as a major league player. Is it possible that the Dodgers had him stashed away for a big deal such as this one? Yes. Probable? I doubt it. Maybe LaRocheís poor stint in 2008 had scared them away, but is 59 at-bats really a good sample size? I think not, especially when he owns a career OPS just a shade below .900 in the minors. Now, however, he will get full playing time, and in due course, he will hopefully blossom into the player he has projected to be.

Could you argue that the Red Sox gave up a little too much to get rid of one of the best hitters in the game? Maybe. Could you argue that giving up your best prospect for a two-month rental is too much? Sure. But in the end, all three teams addressed their needs. The Piratesí season is pretty much over, and they have continued to add quality prospects. The Dodgers got a big bat in the middle of their lineup to give themselves a boost. And the Red Sox got rid of a migraine named Manny Ramirez.


Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Tony resides in Queens, New York and can be reached at tony@baseballevolution.com.