Thursday, July 28, 2005
  Just listen to your heart, that's what I do...
I started to write this post early this a.m., before I had to do that pesky thing called "work."

And then I check and see that, wow, I was sorta on point here. But listed below were my thoughts around 7:45 a.m.
I hate to say it, because I do like the guy, but Manny's not going to be a Red Sox (check!) for very long. Sure, the 20 mill a year contract is a bit tough to swallow, but if they can get someone to send them a proper package, I'm willing to bet John W. Henry would write that club a personal check for the balance of the contract.

Besides, he becomes a 10-5 guy at the end of the season and with 3 years and 57 million left on his deal, the Sox do not want to have their hands tied by his reluctance to be traded to certain locale, or anything that could toss the monkeywrench in a blockbuster.

For an organization run by PR and media people, who calculate their every move and reaction in the press (and even have a few divestments in tv, radio, and print media in the Boston area, but I'm not accusing anyone of anything here, am I?), Tito and Theo's comments yesterday were not ringing endorsements.

Tito: "I went to Ramirez after Tuesday night's game. We had obvious issues, but he said he still needs it (the day off), so I gave it to him," said Francona prior to yesterday's game, uncharacteristically electing not to publicly protect one of his players. Francona said Ramirez initially was going to have last Sunday off in Chicago. "But that was not a good day (for the team to be without Ramirez), in my opinion, so we came up with (yesterday), which would give him back-to-back days off (because today is an off day)," said Francona. The events of Tuesday's game prompted Francona to amend that plan, but Ramirez, who reportedly has asked to be traded, wasn't willing to do so. "He looked like he was tired, out of energy," said Francona.

Yeah. Tired. Out of energy. Francona, to his credit or whatever, would defend Lee Harvey Oswald as a "good shot" if he wore a Sox hat. This coming after teammate Matt Clement also looked tired, out of energy, and for a few seconds, dead.

Theo: ''We're in a pennant race and battling a lot of adversity -- injuries and otherwise. 'It's times like these when you find out about your team and your players. More than ever, we need all 25 players pulling together, putting the team first in pursuit of victory. It's our responsibility to get there, and I think we will. I have a lot of faith in our players -- all of them -- and in the entire organization."

All along, when asked about the trade market in 2005, Theo has repeated the refrain "it's a sellers market." He said the same thing to Bob Hohler a year ago, on July 30, 2004. Even earlier, on July 4, 2004, Theo said: "I'm not trying to trade him. I'm not trying to trade anyone on the club. But part of doing my job is making sure I check every opportunity if we can get better."

Then he went and traded "him, "a Boston icon named Nomar Garciaparra.

The issues raised in a July 24, 2004 notebook by Howard Bryant of the Herald is like looking in a mirror a year later...Manny's hamstrings, frustration in the clubhouse, veterans balking at his behavior and frustration abound by the team not performing up to snuff. The only thing different is the team's place in the standings.

Then you listen to Larry Lucchino this morning on WEEI. It's no secret that in the minutes after Manny signed "Manny" on his Red Sox contract, he's been unhappy. So on the topic of Manny's trade request, as reported by Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated this week, Double-L said:

"As to were we surprised by a request, I don’t think it would be intelligent of us to be surprised because as I’ve said this is our fourth season and in each of those seasons, beginning the week before we took over, we were well aware that Manny had issues. In each of those years there has been a request for a trade."

And more... "It is the time of year when you consider all manner of trades. You know that we are not sentimental people, we try not to be, as much as we like and admire our veterans, you’ve got to be prepared to trade them if it’s in the best interest of the club. Theo is certainly willing to be bold and make moves that other GMs might shy away from, so this is the time for us to think about trades and certainly Manny’s name will come up from time-to-time I’m sure in the next 72 hours. We have until 4:00 on Sunday afternoon. I think that it’s hard (to try to trade Manny) because of the size of his contract obviously, it’s hard. There aren’t a lot of clubs that are going to be interested, but it depends how little you’re willing to take in return with respect to trades. I’m not talking about Manny specifically, although it certainly applies to him. If you’re willing to take a broken bat and a couple of baseballs and a player to be named later, I supposed that makes it more possible but there’s just a certain set of clubs that will never be interested because of the dollars involved, but then again that club may say ‘hey if he’s got a $18-20 million contract this year, and you pay 95% of it, you know, we’ll trade with you,’ but that’s not a particularly intelligent thing for us to do."

Um, and forgive the cynicism, but these words seems pretty crafted and contrived - kinda like it wasn't the first time Lucchino had discussed the issue, publicly or privately, or had a plan of action in place. And if past history is any indication, the team always has a contingency plan.

So stay tuned Sox fans...this could be just another shitstorm that is created, sustained, and condoned by the media, by the club, or some combination of the two. And it could mean a new left fielder.
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A daily - or every-other-day - account of all there is in my head
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