Dear Theo, Larry, John, Tom, Peabo, “Scones,” and Aggie:

Hello. Red here. I know you’re busy, but I just had a coupla things to say. You know I love you guys dearly. Always have. There was that bullpen by committee thing in 2003, but then you countered pretty nicely with that superstars-and-spare-parts team — a Bellhorn here, a Mueller there — that gave us a positively righteous 2004.

Since then, however… I gotta admit. I’m not sure where you’re going with this team.

I mean, we had a great shortstop in OC, but we let him go to sign Edgar Renteria for boatloads of cash. And he didn’t quite work out. And we gave Matt Clement a boatload of cash, presumably to do his best Pedro Martinez impersonation in the rotation. And he didn’t quite work out. And we let Johnny Damon go and brought in Coco Crisp to be the leadoff hitter of the future. And he didn’t work out, to the point that you were apparently trying to unload him a couple times last season. We also got rid of Edgah and brought in A-Gon, who was, hands-down, the best shortstop I’ve ever seen working the Fenway infield. But then we let him go. Because — and this is pure speculation on my part — you knew you were going to try to move Manny. And with Manny out of the picture, we can’t afford too many holes in the line-up. In the meantime, you’ve ponied up scads of dough for the likes of J.D. Drew and a Japanese pitching superstar who has amazing credentials, but is still untested in the MLB.

All of this is elementary, I know. This is a business. You’ve got guys working the abacus 24/7 to ensure a profit is turned, and turned nicely at that. But here’s the question I hafta ask: In Manny, you’ve got a fan favorite who puts up fantastic numbers each season as easily as some people fall out of bed or down a cherry pie. So why move him? Look at the dough that Carlos Lee and Alfonso are getting. Those two guys are suddenly the Rolling Stones and U2, and Manny is suddenly The Kinks–a bargain among these giants, if you will, but still capable of delivering a reliably nasty groove. He’s also pretty much the last truly successful big-money signing that the team has made, with the possible exception of Curt Schilling. But Curt really only gave us one spectacular season [so far]. Manny, on the other hand, has been a consistent producer since he landed here. He’s that rare commodity — a big money player who delivers big money results. And we know he can play in this market, something that is a legitimate concern when luring players here, as we discovered with Edgah and The Emancipator.

The bottom line is that we won’t get equal value for Manny. And a line-up that was suspect last year will only get weaker. And you’ll also be decimating that Manny-Ortiz powerhouse that, let’s face it, carried this team for the better part of 2006. So the guy ocassionally leaves the field to take a whiz or drops trou in left field. For what he delivers, I can live with it. F–k, if he wanted to wreck my car, drink my beer and feel up my sister, I’m totally down with that. Consider me a Manny enabler. That’s how I roll.

Listen to me, guys: We’d miss him. Even people who don’t want to admit it would have to admit it sooner or later. We’d miss that bat. We’d miss those ham hands. We’d miss that grin. He makes it entertaining, and at the end of the day, that’s what baseball is supposed to be: An escape from the harsh reality that is your jerk-off boss or your wife’s 400-pound ass spread across the sofa, waiting for you to come home.

Just stop all this madness. Please. And give me another two seasons of Manny.