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Friday, August 1, 2008

Thanks for the Memories Manny, Welcome Jason Bay

With the 4pm trade deadline rapidly approaching yesterday, after watching coverage on NESN during lunch with nothing happening (sorry, Ken Griffey Jr. is no longer big news), I took a shower figuring that the Red Sox were going to keep Manny Ramirez for the rest of the season.

When I got out, my phone started to beep with text messages, the unlikely had happened: the Sox worked a three-way trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. Manny was going to the Dodgers while Pirates outfielder Jason Bay comes to Boston.

Even after preparing for a moment like this for the last few weeks, the actual event is still surprising. Like in 2004 when Nomar Garciaparra was traded, the Red Sox rolled the dice and made a controversial splash.

Without question, Boston gave up a lot to get rid of their Manny-induced headache. They're paying him for the rest of the year and also traded Brandon Moss (who could be the next David Murphy but didn't have a place in the Sox outfield) and Craig Hansen (who is a bust) to the Pirates. Bay is the only player the Sox get in return.

A Yankees killer, one of the most clutch players and all-around best hitters I'll ever see in my lifetime (especially on my favorite team), Manny has created endless positive memories for Red Sox fans the past eight seasons. This was necessary though; both sides needed a fresh start.

It was too much of a risk to hope that Manny would be motivated for the rest of the season (even though he was theoretically playing for a contract).

Playing in obscurity, Bay at 29-years-old is still an unknown commodity. He's a two-time all-star for the Pirates and rookie of the year. He'll play left field and bat somewhere from 3-6. Will he handle the pressure of Boston? That and many other similar questions are impossible to answer at this point. Let's give the guy some time to get his feet wet before we start making the final decision.

Manny's presence on the Dodgers makes them instant contenders, especially in the weak NL West. He's reunited with Nomar and Derek Lowe, the 2003 Red Sox reloaded. It'll be strange to see him in a different uniform, hitting ropes but such is life. Time to move on and move forward.

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