1 year ago, I was horribly horribly wrong. I raved about Theo’s most recent trade acquisition, Eric Gagne. I told you how it made us the best bullpen in the majors (with the at the time unbeatable Okajima, and Papelbon.) I told you how it was a godsend that he didn’t wind up in pinstripes. Wow. I’ll try and be a little more careful this time around…
Here we are 1 year later and 3 games past the epic Manny Ramirez trade that brought Jason Bay to Boston. Instead of praising Bay for his awesome performances in our sweep of the A’s this weekend, I’m going to praise someone else for a moment.
Theo Epstien. Anyone remember what we sent away for what wound up being a washed up Gagne? Kason Gabbard and David Murphy. Gabbard currently sits on the DL in Texas, after walking more batters than he struck out in his 56 innings through 12 starts. (That’s 4 2/3 innings per start.) His 4.82 ERA, 1.84 WHIP, and 2-3 record probably wouldn’t have panned out well in Boston this year. Murphy is doing okay, .268 avg. with 14 HR’s and 71 RBI are certainly respectable, but with Boston’s already crowded outfield, he certainly wouldn’t have had a place this year.
If Gagne hadn’t uncharacteristically flopped, that would have been a brilliant move! All things considered, we didn’t even really lose out.
I’m going out on a limb here to say I trust Theo. This man has built a world class organization. He’s dealt Nomar, and now Manny. He’s signed class acts like Mike Lowell, Bill Mueller, and Mark Loretta. He’s drafted and raised a farm system comparable to none to produce guys like Papelbon, Youkilis, Pedroia and Ellsbury. And most of all, the tandem of Epstien and Francona have given me two championships.
Now why would the Boston Red Sox ever want to trade away one of the greatest hitters of all time? I’m going to side with Theo on this one. I don’t live the Red Sox clubhouse, and I couldn’t tell you what the environment is like exactly, other than that Francona will stand up for anyone at any time. I can tell you though that they looked like they were in a funk last week, and now they don’t. Manny must have been a bigger distraction than even I saw, because it was clear that we HAD to get rid of him, other wise we wouldn’t have. You don’t break up Manny/Ortiz unless you have to, and it got to the point of had to.
So now we sit here, Mannyless, and on a 3 game win streak.
The Boston Red Sox are a better team than they were 3 weeks ago. Why? We have essentially replaced a Manny who didn’t care with a healty David Ortiz (coming back from the DL) and Jason Bay. Everything else is the same! We are now full of guys who are going to give 100% every day. Bay is going to go out there and love what hes doing. That is going to fuel guys like Pedroia who don’t know what 95% means. It’s going to lighten the heart of Kevin Youkilis to know there are guys to cover his back.
I loved Manny Ramirez but he was a tumor. Time to move forward. As we move into the dog days of August, go out there and appreciate what the dirt dogs are giving us. From the days of Loretta, Nixon and Mueller when we won our first (modern day) world series, it’s the guys who leave nothing behind that wind up being the favorites. So Jason Bay, all I ask is for you to play your heart out. The rest will follow.