October 30, 2003

Red Sox putting Manny Ramirez on irrevocable waivers?: The baseballprimer website links to a leak posted on the "Sons of Sam Horn" Red Sox forum by Art Martone of the Providence Journal. Martone, in Drudge-like fashion, claims that a story that may hit the NYT tomorrow reports that the Red Sox have put Manny Ramirez on "irrevocable waivers" Thursday. Unlike traditional waivers, if another team claims someone on irrevocable waivers, the current team can't yank that player back. Speculation is rampant as to why the Sox are (reportedly) making this move, and what it means for Manny and the Sox in 2004.

posted by hincandenza to baseball at 01:43 AM - 55 comments

The particulars of this move- which is a quirk of the waivers I'd never heard of- are that unlike a traditional waiver, it sounds as it the original team can't yank the player back: if this is true, and at least one team claims Manny, that pretty much clinches it; he would be out of Boston. The best speculation I've heard as to why the Sox would even do this is that they've been looking to get rid of him (his contract was inked by Dan Duquette) and replace his $20m salary with money spent elsewhere, in particular with pitching. However, unlike traditional trade scenarios or even waiver danglings, this all but baits a team to make an impulse purchase; they wouldn't have time to think it over, beyond 48 hours, when many teams might then reconsider. Perhaps it's even a dare for Steinbrenner in particular, hot after the WS loss, to make a jump at Manny, absorbing that salary and beefing up his offense to the expense of his biggest competition (and allowing the Yankees to more easily move guys like Soriano or others). The presumption would then be that the Sox do this because they want to catch an impetuous George, and feel they couldn't remove Manny and his contract any other way. But a non-trade means the Yanks can seriously improve LF for only the cost of the salary itself, and the Sox lose a BIG bat with no guaranteed replacement. Theo's not stupid, thus the speculation is the Sox must have something fairly concrete in the works with a big-time replacement, perhaps even a Vlad Guerrero. If this doesn't pan out, though, Manny would be a huge headache- what team would do a standard trade after this stunt, with the size of Manny's contract and the clear sign the Sox are apparently desperate to move him? And how would a surly Manny be in 2004, and how would his teammates, especially guys like Pedro and Ortiz, react? Update: The NYT has just published this online, so it'll presumably be in the print version as well. It goes without saying that with the NYT carrying it, this will be a big topic of discussion in the baseball world on Thursday.

posted by hincandenza at 02:09 AM on October 30, 2003

Wow! Wonder if they have some people lined up they just HAD to have the cash for or what? Just seems weird, the timing, the method, the whole deal. Wonder what happens if he's not picked up, could make for an ugly season next year in the clubhouse.

posted by pivo at 02:47 AM on October 30, 2003


posted by jerseygirl at 05:11 AM on October 30, 2003

Is anyone really surprised by this? When you look at the particulars of his contract (not shown here is the 4.0m he has in deffered salary this year and the remaining 10.0m in signing bonuses) it has to be a tough pill to swallow for a team of owners who didn't pull the trigger, and for a player who has a yearly "distraction".

posted by YukonGold at 06:23 AM on October 30, 2003

I didn't see this coming. of course, in my baseball naivete, I didn't know they could do this. There's always been a lot of talk about being stuck with Manny's contract, no one ever brought this possibility up before, so there you go. It's a good thing for the team I think, especially if they go after Vlad and maybe Millwood or Pettitte.

posted by jerseygirl at 06:35 AM on October 30, 2003

[jaw hits floor] [picks jaw up] [jaw hits floor again] If no one claims him it's going to be hell in that clubhouse in 2004. If some one DOES claim him, it's going to be a slightly different hell in that clubhouse in 2004 if they can't replace him.

posted by grum@work at 06:59 AM on October 30, 2003

Wow. Damn. Hell. But I like Manny. Is the contract that much of a handicap? I have nothing else to say except I'd never compare Art to Matt Drudge. He's the best writer on the Sox from my perspective (that he understands stats helps). Unfortunately he's the sports editor, so he doesn't write Art's Notebook as much as he used to.

posted by yerfatma at 07:03 AM on October 30, 2003

On the plus side, when spring training rolls around and Manny's still on the team, he'll probably have forgotten all about this.

posted by yerfatma at 07:09 AM on October 30, 2003

there's only one team that can afford that contract in this environment. it's a smart move by theo and company. he could get a lot more with 100+ million shed. the bats are replaceable, it's the pitching that's hard to find. with the way the free agent market has shaped up over the last 2 years the sox could replace manny with a bat, that while isn't going to replace those numbers, could do an above average job with signifigantly less cash. my only concern would be if theo really thinks that the rest of roster can hit at the clip it did last season. as a met fan, the 2000 mets all had career years. phillips then expected that type of production going forward. you know the rest of this story. but i think theo is smarter than that. no matter how much hitting they have they still won't beat the yanks with the arms currently wearing a red sox uniform. i really dig this move but i don't think george is going to bite.

posted by oliver_crunk at 07:38 AM on October 30, 2003

Hal: Nice find. This may be the first example of SportsFilter getting a story before the mainstream media. (We would have had another if I didn't sit on the Barry Bonds' doctor doping story, which I saw in a small California paper a month ago -- ugh.) Manny Ramirez already has a bad attitude, so Boston must think that getting stuck with him after this move doesn't have a big downside. I don't agree, though. A hard-working clubhouse cancer is an awesome destructive force. It's a shame he isn't working out for the Sox. I want to root for a ferocious power hitter who looks like an unmade bed running the bases.

posted by rcade at 08:05 AM on October 30, 2003

Wow. Surprising - but it kinda does make sense. Boston needs some flexibility and would probably go after Vlad since contracts like Manny's are probably a thing of the past - so they could sign Vlad for five-years at say $75 mil. Besides - Manny produces at the plate.... And no where else (no glove, no hustle, no arm).

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:43 AM on October 30, 2003

Theo is from the sabermetric school of baseball. I'm not sure that it's Vlad he's got in mind. I would think his preference is to pick up a couple of guys who he believes are undervalued as opposed to Vlad who is highly valued by everyone.

posted by Mike McD at 08:54 AM on October 30, 2003

the red sox aren't the a's. they don't need to exploit inefficiencies in the market. they can afford the players valued by everyone. i believe (not sure though) that they have the seond biggest revenue stream in baseball.....and an owner who seems willing to spend to win. while theo is saber-inclined, that doesn't mean he has to hunt for undervalued players. just players that are fair market value. manny, might not be fair market value by the tail end of that contract.

posted by oliver_crunk at 09:01 AM on October 30, 2003

I just wonder what happens (in the Red Sox clubhouse, Manny's head, those types of places) if no one takes the bait and stakes a claim. Probably won't be a good thing and the Sox might end up having to trade him away while still paying a big chunk of his salary.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:04 AM on October 30, 2003

I'm not sure what the upside of this move would be. The only team that could afford him is the Yankees, and they're actively looking for outfield help. Even Manny could handle moving to that tiny right field in Yankee Stadium. It seems like they are practically giving Steinbrenner a guy who is consistantly among the league leaders in every offensive category. If he is claimed, they get nothing in return. If he's not claimed, they get a Manny who's even less motivated. Besides, aren't Bill James types supposed to downplay the whole chemistry thing in favor of numbers? I would have thought Manny would be their gold standard.

posted by Jugwine at 09:13 AM on October 30, 2003

A couple questions... if I may. I'd love your thoughts and opinions on this, because I spent about an hour bouncing these around in my head during my commute this morning. 1. Is there any other line of thinking besides "The owners are doing this to disrespect me!" among players when moves are made? I know Pedro thinks everyone is disrespecting him, but do any players think analytically about moves like this? 2. That being said, and please take into consideration the well-documented aloof nature of Manny Ramirez, if he stays, does it automatically mean he's going to just lay down next year, and the years after that, and not produce? 3. I wonder if this is strictly financial or is it because they are tired of Manny's attitude, or a little of both. Manny's great. He's my favorite player on the team. I love him like the childlike bling-wearing gazillionaire brother I never had. But in this market-correction atmosphere now, is he worth it? Hell, the Rangers don't like the aftertaste of the A-Rod deal anymore either, and A-Rod's easily the best player in all of the game. It would be great if the MLB could adopt some of the policies of the NFL, and got rid of that guaranteed contract stuff. I am sure the players union would be a hurdle, but imagine how much easier this would be if Boston could go to Manny or the Rangers could go to A-Rod and say, "the market has changed, let's talk."

posted by jerseygirl at 09:37 AM on October 30, 2003

1. From what I've noticed, when a team lets a player go, the player almost always takes it as a personal slight. On the other hand, when a player leaves as a free agent for more money, it's just business. In this particular case, I don't think Manny is really capable of thinking analytically about this. He'll be off waivers one way or the other by the time his agent has finished explaining the situation to him. 2. I'm not sure that Manny could stop hitting if he tried. Even when he's not hustling, he's still one of the most dangerous hitters in the league. 3. It has to be a little of both. It must have really stuck in John Henry's craw when Manny sat out the Yankee series and refused to pinch hit against the Phillies. This may be a situation similar to what they went through with Grady Little. They had already made up their minds, but if he had really come through in the postseason, they wouldn't have been able to move him from a PR standpoint. I don't think MLB will ever be able to get rid of them, but guaranteed contracts are really scary, especially when they are long term. Do you realize that the Orioles are still paying off Albert Belle's contract? He earned $12,448,894 this year sitting at home.

posted by Jugwine at 09:56 AM on October 30, 2003

Let me be the first Yankee fan to say we don't want him. Yes, the numbers are high, and we've every reason to believe that his behavior would improve in NY since he likes it there, but we still don't want him or his salary. Please George, please do not even consider this...

posted by Bernreuther at 10:31 AM on October 30, 2003

The Yankees aren't going to take Manny, the Sox are stuck with a great hitter, gee, that seems so bad.

posted by jbou at 10:33 AM on October 30, 2003


posted by jerseygirl at 10:34 AM on October 30, 2003

Neyer. And the MLBPA will fight to the last man to retain guaranteed contracts. It's up to the owners and GMs to find a happy medium between locking a guy up long term and minimizing risk with one or two year deals.

posted by mbd1 at 10:46 AM on October 30, 2003

So, the interpretation of Gammons article is this: Manny doesn't mind Boston, but wouldn't mind trying somewhere else. The Red Sox wouldn't mind Manny trying somewhere else, either. They offered to release him from his contract, they tried to swap him for A-Rod (presumably taking on the extra $5m for A-Rod), and nothing's worked. i was really hoping for some quiet time out of Yawkey Way for a little while, maybe a couple weeks. I think this is just the first of some big news coming out of Fenway.

posted by jerseygirl at 10:59 AM on October 30, 2003

The Gammons article sorta firms up my theory, which is that the Red Sox talked to Manny before this move -- pitching it as a way to get him what he wants. "Look, we couldn't make a trade, but we want you to be happy so we're gonna give New York a chance to take you."

posted by Bryant at 11:29 AM on October 30, 2003

yerfatma: I have nothing else to say except I'd never compare Art to Matt Drudge I only meant Drudge-like in the sense that he was leaking the moving of a story by Jack Curry that would be run in the NYT; that Art is not a legitimate reporter, or that he and Sean McAdam of the ProJo wouldn't do their own reporting on it as well was not what I meant to suggest. rcade: Hal: Nice find. This may be the first example of SportsFilter getting a story before the mainstream media I wish that were the case, but alas, the story was in the process of being prepped for the New York Times itself, though not published, leaked by someone at the Providence Journal, echoed on a bulletin board, then by Aaron Gleeman, and now here. So while SpoFi had it published before it was published in the mainstream media, it wasn't long before, and only because I can post faster than the NYT can likely update their website, much less roll-off millions of copies of their print edition. I'm afraid I can't be called "Scoop" Hincandenza just yet. :)

posted by hincandenza at 11:29 AM on October 30, 2003

For some perspective, here in Los Angeles, just about every major sports radio station has had at least one person out and out beg Dan Evans and the Dodgers to jump on Manny. It could work, but I'd prefer Vlad myself. But this is Dan Evans and the Dodgers we're talking about. If Manny has a brother, Dan may be interested in him.
freakin dodgers

posted by lilnemo at 11:32 AM on October 30, 2003

Nemo, one might be tempted to assume that if the Dodgers brought in either of them, the player would be on IR by late May and miss the rest of the season, then be playing on and off for three years due to lingering effects. So just as well if Evans keeps his hands in his pockets.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:42 AM on October 30, 2003

"Look, we couldn't make a trade, but we want you to be happy so we're gonna give New York a chance to take you." So with this Gammons revelation, and your take on it Bryant, do you get the feeling that if no one picks Manny up on waivers, there won't be sour grapes or harsh feelings on Manny's side come spring training? They (Theo & co) tried to move him, with Manny's blessing, it would seem.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:48 AM on October 30, 2003

yeah, even before I read that I assumed he knew, it wasn't going to be another hillenbrand situation. Seems like a heavy sales pitch wasn't even needed, if Manny came to them first. That way it's just "OK, we'll dangle you out on waivers" instead of "Um, Manny, we're going to try to get rid of you" - big difference.

posted by Bernreuther at 11:57 AM on October 30, 2003

i'm not buying the clubhouse stuff. it's over-rated. these are competive pro's.....saying that manny would tank because he's not feeling the way sox nation treats him is ridiculous. he might have a history of doing some un-team-like stuff but the dude came with some serious numbers last year. whether he stays or goes....you can mail in .300/30 hr's/100 rbi's next year minimum. there's no tank in those numbers. sometimes i don't get the emotional aspect of red sox nation.

posted by oliver_crunk at 12:00 PM on October 30, 2003

sometimes i don't get the emotional aspect of red sox nation. Well, given the black and blue has just faded from where I punched myself a few times after the Yankees tied Game 7, I'd say I qualify as "emotional". And I've never bought the clubhouse crap* either. What you need to know about "Red Sox Nation" is that if you're not part of it, you probably don't have a good picture of it. Your picture comes from the Boston Media telling you what we think and feel. And they're not only wrong, they're wrong on purpose. * Except in cases like 1986 where you have guys running around taking pitctures of adulterous teammates.

posted by yerfatma at 12:59 PM on October 30, 2003

i'm not claiming to know about red sox nation. i think i might have a good idea about it though. i've been to boston plenty. extended stays, too! i'd love to hear you expand upon what the big secret is, yerfatmama, because i've talked to plenty of sox fans and all i see are these types: -the sports talk crazies who care more about what the yankees are doing than what the sox are doing. there's a lot of these folk. -the drunk idiots who care more about being drunk and starting divisive chants (more or less the exception. not the rule) -extremelly knowledgeable fans who aren't suprised by any sox calamity. all of the above have their curse meter on at all times. they all believe in the curse. which is why their perspective is a tad more emotional than, say, a mets, like myself. ((sorry for the de-rail.....not trying to offend anyone. just my observation))

posted by oliver_crunk at 01:18 PM on October 30, 2003

Yankees Not Interested in Ramirez. The Dodgers and Mets seem to be, as are the Orioles and Devil Rays(?). I can't imagine any of those teams claiming him. It might not be unlikely, though, that they get a deal made after 2pm. tomorrow where the Red Sox pay a portion of Ramirez's salary in exchange for a prospect or two.

posted by Jugwine at 01:33 PM on October 30, 2003

i'd love to hear you expand upon what the big secret is, yerfatmama... I just found this funny. Carry on.

posted by lilnemo at 01:45 PM on October 30, 2003

these are competive pro's.....saying that manny would tank because he's not feeling the way sox nation treats him is ridiculous. Red Sox Nation didn't dangle him on waiver wires. The team did. What Red Sox Nation does or says should have little to do with how he performs on the field. However, how his employer treats him may, depending on the hypersensitivity of the player. Of course, this is all moot now anyway, since you can presume he knew he'd be dangled out there and was open to it. You're kind of way off on the Red Sox Nation presumptions, Oliver. the sports talk crazies who care more about what the yankees are doing than what the sox are doing. there's a lot of these folk. Sports talk crazies, yes, but other major market sports teams have this. It's not a Boston thing. People are concerned about what NYY does simply for the fact that they are, year after year, our direct hurdle to getting anywhere in the post-season. In business or any competitive situation, you worry about your closest competitor. -extremelly knowledgeable fans who aren't suprised by any sox calamity. No. Not entirely. Just because you are knowledgeable, doesn't necessarily imply you expect calamity. Jaded? Maybe a bit. But dammit if I didn't see some jaded old guys believing this year. -the drunk idiots who care more about being drunk and starting divisive chants (more or less the exception. not the rule) again... this isn't something exclusive to Boston. You could say this about many cities and many teams, even outside of baseball. all of the above have their curse meter on at all times. they all believe in the curse. We're not all into the supposed "Curse of the Bambino". I find it foolish. I actually hate the reference in regards to anything bad that happens to the Red Sox. I especially dislike it because I know Shaughnessy is riding that son of a bitch catch phrase and generated paranoia all the way to his local Fleet Bank account. Goats don't curse baseball teams and neither do pudgy pitchers. Extended stays and discussions with the Fenway Faithful aren't going to give you insight on Red Sox Nation. :)

posted by jerseygirl at 01:46 PM on October 30, 2003

i'd love to hear you expand upon what the big secret is It's not like that. My point wasn't that you don't know what you're talking about. My point was much of your information about us is filtered through the media and the Boston media has a vested interest in telling us we are a certain way. I don't believe in a Curse. No one I know believes in a Curse. The one fucking miserable human being I know of who does happens to be a senior writer for the Boston Globe and a dickhead non pareil, Mr. Dan Shaughnessy ("The CHB" to those in the know). If you think we all believe in curses, then I think my point is a valid one. Though jerseygirl did it much better, I would point out that 3 of your 3 RSN member types can be found in fans of all other major sports teams in the US.

posted by yerfatma at 02:13 PM on October 30, 2003

i knew i was going to get raked over the coals for that one. i should have known better.

posted by oliver_crunk at 03:07 PM on October 30, 2003

"How would you like your crunk? Well-done, or medium rare?" Good points all. P.S. Dan Evans glad you bought out Jordan. But please keep your hands in your pockets should Manny or his agent drop by. However, if Vlad happens to leave a message call him back immediately and repeatedly like a 13-yr old boy with a crush.

posted by lilnemo at 03:19 PM on October 30, 2003

"Look, we couldn't make a trade, but we want you to be happy so we're gonna give New York a chance to take you." So much for that thought.

posted by lilnemo at 03:22 PM on October 30, 2003

So with this Gammons revelation, and your take on it Bryant, do you get the feeling that if no one picks Manny up on waivers, there won't be sour grapes or harsh feelings on Manny's side come spring training? That's my uninformed guess. Check out the Dirt Dogs, too -- they're claiming that Manny asked to be put on waivers.

posted by Bryant at 04:56 PM on October 30, 2003

Excellent link Bryant.

posted by lilnemo at 05:22 PM on October 30, 2003

I like bostondirtdogs. Check them everyday. I've linked to them a couple times here. What kind of confuses me is some of the claims without links seem to be made up and conjecture. But they get some good scoops otherwise. Anyway, if Manny does clear waivers, I think this also sends a message. It says to Nomar and Pedro (who are in the position to re-sign), "Look, no one was willing to pick up Manny's contract and he's an upper echelon player also. Those days of overinflated Mannyesque contracts are over. We're in a market correction." That is, of course, if they even want Nomar and Pedro anymore. I don't have any idea what Theo & Co's plans are now, this Manny thing blindsided me this morning.

posted by jerseygirl at 05:42 PM on October 30, 2003

The CHB crack gets me laughing everytime.

posted by jerseygirl at 05:44 PM on October 30, 2003

The CHB crack gets me laughing everytime. Certain ones will always getcha. Carl was just extremely good at it. Friends and I still laugh over him dismissing Edes or whomever during a Spring Training by saying "All you motherfuckers from the Globe . . . " and then saying "Globe" every time someone tried to interject. You can file that with Mo Vaughn's "Dumb, stupid Boston fans. They stupid," Rick Pitino's "All the negativity in this town sucks and it stinks and it sucks" and every Celtics broadcast after Tommy gets his first Chivas in. None of which will ever top an average Jim Mora press conference in my mind.

posted by yerfatma at 07:45 PM on October 30, 2003

I also like the Lee Elia tirade about the Chicago fans. That's one of my favorites, too. I should start watching more Celtics games. I didn't realize Heinson had so many quotes.

posted by jerseygirl at 08:34 PM on October 30, 2003

The Dirt Dogs are the bomb. Now, if only I could get posting privs on the Sons of Sam Horn... Man, we have a lot of Internet sports personalities with goofy names around here. Sports Guy. Dirt Dogs. Sons of Sam Horn. Good thing Cossette uses his real name.

posted by Bryant at 12:43 AM on October 31, 2003

is he still associated with the fox sports new england site?

posted by jerseygirl at 04:58 AM on October 31, 2003

I didn't realize Heinson had so many quotes. Let me strongly recommend the next 9 games before the Cooz flies south for the winter. Heinson and Cooz together are too much. They see everything that goes on in the game but spend as much time ribbing each other as analyzing. Plus the voices alone are worth the price of admission. My all-time favorite letter to the BSG (back when he was at citysearch) went as follows: "I'm gonna start calling Paul Pierce 'Chewbacca' because Bob Cousy says he's definitely 'Wookie of the Year'." Bryant, SOSH posting is over-rated. It's like a pass to an old folks with dementia sanitorium. Dirt Dogs is better, but it still suffers from the overwrought personalities oliver_crunk decries above. Does anyone know if Hench from "Hench's Hardball" on Dirt Dogs is the same Hench the BSG always mentions?

posted by yerfatma at 06:51 AM on October 31, 2003

Nah, jg -- they swapped in Bruce Allen during the Celtics season. He'll be doing the same thing he does on Boston Sports Media, but just for the Celtics.

posted by Bryant at 08:14 AM on October 31, 2003

I was in a meeting all day... so cut me a bit of slack. There's a weird rumor about Manny may have actually been picked up (no one, not even the Red Sox will know until 1 pm EST) and that frees up enough money and the Red Sox are going after A-Rod in a possible 3-way trade involving... Anaheim? I also heard something that A-Rod may have been put on waivers too, but no one knew about it because waivers is supposed to be hush hush. Hot stove action is killing me this year. Im a ball of nerves. Go Theo!

posted by jerseygirl at 11:30 AM on October 31, 2003

That was all speculations based out of ESPN insider and the blip I heard on the radio... so no one kill me for rumor mongering.

posted by jerseygirl at 11:32 AM on October 31, 2003

The Post (and a couple of Boston outlets) have the same rumor.

posted by yerfatma at 12:20 PM on October 31, 2003

i heard giambi got put on waivers too, in addition to arod. i'll tell ya.....no one wants anything to do with some of these pre-2001 contracts. it's going to be an interesting off-season. i even read in the nyt today that the mets are offering piazza, reyes and heilmann for arod. although arod might veto the deal, citing his desire to play in the AL.

posted by oliver_crunk at 12:23 PM on October 31, 2003

Manny cleared waivers.

posted by jerseygirl at 01:04 PM on October 31, 2003

Looks like -- the Sox said they'd hear by 2 PM either way, and I see no big announcements on the wire. Here is a very good article about the move, and the impact it has on the league in general. Also how it affects the managerial search.

posted by Bryant at 01:16 PM on October 31, 2003

boston.com report.

posted by jerseygirl at 01:26 PM on October 31, 2003

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