Can you ever get too much Manny trade talk? I hate to say it, but I think this time it’s for real. The inexplicable desire of Manny to get out of town and the remaining millions on his contract have finally reached a point where he is very tradeable. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been on the “keep Manny” bandwagon since the beginning. Hell, I’ve had to steer it a few times when things got rough. But I think it’s time to say goodbye.
I do believe that once Manny finds a new home, RSN is going to start to get the whole story. The “Manny being Manny” and overall quirkiness were barely tolerable with the information we had. We were willing to overlook a lot in return for Manny’s production. But what about the stories we haven’t heard yet? I think there has been a lot more going on behind the scenes that’s been hidden from the media. Once Manny is gone, the Red Sox PR machine will no doubt slip a few tidbits to the Globe about what a real pain Manny was and how lucky we are to have made a deal to get him out of town. Just look at Nomar and Pedro’s exits.
Manny’s resume of weirdness-bordering-on-insanity is long, and ranges from hugely entertaining at times to absolutely maddening at other times. The funny handshakes, the double finger-point, the mugging it up in the dugout, the American flag bit, and going inside the Monster were all fan-friendly. But the pharangitis, the hammy, refusing to pinch hit, and laying down last season…that was not so entertaining. The under-the-radar story, or maybe I’d simply forgotten about it, was his performance on September 11, 2002 in Tampa Bay. While the rest of the team stepped to the top of the dugout for a moment of silence, Manny stayed back on the bench giggling and screwing around. Manny being Manny.
Manny leaving doesn’t bother me as much as what the team is proposing as a replacement plan. J.D. Drew + Julio Lugo does not equal Manny + A-Gon. Simple math. Is there some secret initiative taking place this off-season where Drew is being fitted with bionic…everything…that is going to allow him to play more than 120 games? Is Lugo having an Inspector Gadget stretchy arm implanted that will allow him to get to maybe half of the balls A-Gon would have gobbled up? I just don’t get it.
For now, I will bank on Theo and the crew knowing more about baseball than I do and believe this is all going to work out. But if June rolls around and we’re looking up from third place in the AL East? Theo better have that gorilla suit handy.