Screw It, Let’s Do It

I wonder exactly how long my “hacked cell phone as modem” net connection is going to last while driving through the cornfields of Wisconsin? I suppose we’ll see. Assuming this actually gets posted, I really wanted to check in on the Manny Ramirez rumors floating around. Yeah, this is going to be another bare-bones post with no pictures and few stats due to the awesome dial-up speeds, but here we go. SI.com’s Jon Heyman:

The Dodgers are one of a few teams showing interest in embattled superstar Manny Ramirez and are currently in discussions with the Red Sox, SI.com has learned.

Dodgers players likely to interest the Red Sox would include young outfielders Matt Kemp and perhaps Andre Ethier.

If you’re a regular MSTI reader, you know our usual stance on overpaid, declining veterans – a big fat NO. Especially when it costs us some good young players, right?

Well, guess what: MSTI is for acquiring Manny Ramirez. I know – I’m surprised too!

Basically, a deal for Manny is only going to get done if the acquiring team agrees to not pick up his options after this year, because Manny has 10/5 rights over any deal. While that might not be great for a team that would be hoping to have him for a few years, it DOES drive the price way down since he’s only a two month rental, and one who’s leaving on terrible terms.

With the terrible position Manny’s put the Sox in, I can’t imagine they have a whole lot of leverage in trade talks. But what to send back? Kemp is too much, and the Sox would never take Jones or Pierre. So I propose this – Ethier and a mid-level pitching prospect for Manny and the Sox eating most or all of his contract for the rest of the year. Yeah, I know – I love Ethier too, and it stinks to give up the next 3-4 years of him under team control for two months of Manny. But Manny is without question a game-changing bat, just the kind that could propel this team into the playoffs. So we put Manny in LF, JP/Jones can share CF (with JP back in LF on Manny’s days off) and Kemp in RF.

The Sox get to finally get rid of the Manny circus, and they get a young OF who can step into his LF spot immediately.

Having Manny in the middle of the lineup with Martin, Loney, Kemp, Kent, and Blake sounds pretty tasty to me. Yeah, this plan isn’t without his perils. Manny might not like the position of the laundry room in relation to the second urinal in the clubhouse and sulk, or whatever the hell sets him off. But think about it. We all know this team goes nowhere without a power bat, and thanks to “Manny being Manny”, he’s driven the price way down. Do you really think that Mark Teixiera could be acquired for anywhere near that? I think not.

And think about this – Manny’s starting his decline phase, he’s been hurt, he’s in the tough AL East, and he’s probably not really trying all that hard. This isn’t a typical Manny year. And you know what? His OPS+ of 144 and 20 homers still make him by FAR the best hitter on the 2008 Dodgers, and it’s not particularly close. Plus, you have to think that could even improve once he gets out of the AL (imagine Manny in Coors!) and gains a whole lot more motivation since he’d know he’s playing for his last big contract.

Don’t trade Kemp for him. Don’t trade LaRoche for him. But if you can do it with Ethier as the centerpiece? So long, Andre. Hello, playoffs.

- Mike Scioscia’s tragic illness msti-face.jpg

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