So the Red Sox season is officially over. Time to think football and hibernation. Inevitably, it is also time for the annual “trade Manny” debate to begin in earnest. This drives me absolutely bug-humping apeshit. The same “fans” who still lament the Jeff Bagwell deal are screaming to drive Manny out of town. He is only one of the game’s greatest and most consistent run-producers. Check out what he’s done during his six-tear Boston tenure:

.321 Batting Average
20 Homeruns
62 RBI

By the way, those are only his Fenway stats, in an average of 72 games per season. Yeah, who needs that?

Of course, the armchair GM’s that call WEEI (and others who write for local papers) have the solution: Gary Sheffield. Riiight. First, plan on losing about 25 points in batting average, 10 homeruns, and 25 RBI. Sheffield is pushing 40 with bad wheels. And if you think mysterious bouts of Pharangitis or the ill-times hammy problems are maddening, wait ’til you see what old Shef brings to the table.

Carlos Lee is certainly a more interesting choice. He just turned 30 and is having his best statistical season in his career. But he’s still going to fall short of an average Manny year. He will be a free agent after this season, and has already rejected a 4-year, 48 million dollar offer. And he’s also issued a challenge to Bartolo Colon that he can outeat him in the annual hot dog eating contest back in his home country of Panama. Look for the stolen base numbers to drop!

The bottom line is this: you know what you are going to get from Manny. 40 bombs, 130 RBI and a 315+ batting average, all in 150 games. You’ll also get a few ball-breaking days off and some suspect injuries for a day or two. You’ll get a few jaw-dropping homeruns and almost as many mind-numbing miscues in left and on the basepaths. You’ll get some classic dugout footage, a few crazy handshakes, and lots of hugs with Ortiz.

In a game where there are no sure things, Manny is a sure thing.