Excuse the continuing digression into baseball for this breaking news:The Red Sox have taken the unprecedented step of putting Manny Ramirez on waivers. Manny is an All Star who hit over 30 home runs this past season and more than 100 RBIs, and it’s quite surprising for the Sox to do this.
On the other hand, Manny is a headcase, he’s making over $20 million this year, and the Sox still have to sign Pedro, Nomar, and Varitek. So if the question becomes which two of out Manny, Nomar, and Pedro should the Sox keep, it becomes clearer. Plus there’s the potential of using some of that money to pick up an All Star starting pitcher in the free agent market.
But, you ask, why waivers? Why not trade him? For one thing, there’s the specter of that $104 million remaining on his contract, some of which the Sox would inevtiably end up having to pay. And who would another team be willing to part with that would be worth getting? Most of the best players available are in free agency.
So where does Manny go? What team has the seemingly unlimited resources to spend? Where has Manny said he’d like to play out his career? The New York Yankees, of course. And if we can make the Yankees spend $100 million on Manny, that’s $100 million less they can spend on someone else.
And don’t forget that Manny is 31. While that’s young to mean, in baseball hitter teams he’s on the back end of his career. Most players peak sometime around 26 or 28 years old and so the Sox evidently don’t want to continue to pay big money to a declining proposition. And perhaps they think that other players like David Ortiz and Bill Mueller weren’t having fluke seasons, but have entered into new phases of their career.
And if Manny clears waivers? It should be an interesting season next year.