Baseball from the Shyster's point of view.
I like this from a Pirates perspective. Bay's trade value could only have gone down from here, and getting Little LaRoche out from under the bumbling thumbs of Ned Colletti should help his career.Really, I think think every team made out well here. Bay probably isn't as talented as Manny, but he's younger and has another year on his contract.As for the Dodgers, like you said, it can only help their offense.
The one point you made that I didn't consider in my own analysis was the media pressure. Some would argue that this means next to nothing, but Bay is going to be in a whole new ballgame batting 4th in the Red Sox lineup after David Ortiz in front of a bunch of fans who still loved Manny. He's never had a meaningful at bat as late as August. It will be interesting to see if he steps it up or wilts.
The Red Sox made out like bandits here. In swapping Manny for Bay, they got rid of a headache and added a hitter who is almost as good but plays significantly better defense and, most importantly, is under contract for 2009 (and at a bargain basement price!). And they basically gave up nothing to do it. Hansen's upside is as a late-inning reliever, but he's a long way from reaching it. His K and BB rates in the minors were unimpressive, and his major league results have been terrible so far. Keith Law does not have nice things to say about him. Moss is a pieces-part...a 3rd/4th outfielder on a decent team. There are about 20 of each of those two guys floating around every offseason. The Dodgers gave up LaRoche and Bryan Morris for 2 months of a paid Manny Ramirez. I guess your feelings about this side of the trade depends on your opinion of LaRoche. In February, Kevin Goldstein called him a 5-star prospect, but it was pretty clear that the Dodgers placed his value closer to a bag of balls. Morris is an interesting prospect -- first rounder in 2006, injured in 2007, doing pretty well in 2008 -- but seems like a reasonable player to give up in one of these deals. Honestly, I was expecting LaRoche to be dealt for a middle reliever, so to end up with 2 months of Manny Ramirez is looking pretty good. And they'll get 2 picks for him when he walks this offseason.As negative as I am about the job Colletti has done in LA and as much as I want to like what Huntington is doing in Pittsburgh, I just can't believe that Hansen and Moss is all the Red Sox had to give up to make this happen. The Pirates gave up an All Star caliber outfielder who is signed through 2009 at a discount price, but only ended up with a very good prospect (LaRoche), a good prospect (Morris), a lottery ticket with a small grand prize (Hansen), and a spare part (Moss). If I were a Pirates fan, I'd be incredibly disappointed. Would a deal of this caliber really not have been there this offseason?
Peter - No, it wouldn't have been available. Look at the difference between what Texas got for Tex and what the Braves got. That's HUGE. Bay might have fetched somewhere in between that, but you can bet that they would not have got one good prospect, two decent young major leaguers with a little upside, and a very young pitcher with a lot of upside. I think you might be selling the prospects a tad short. It's true that Boston had soured on Hansen and didn't really need Moss, but Boston's system is also stacked. For a rebuilding team, those aren't bad pieces. Boston gave up A LOT in this deal. Manny Ramirez is better than Bay, despite his off-field antics. Boston also paid the rest of his salary (which isn't a big deal to them, but that's still $7 million). Moss and Hansen both have some value. I still think Boston made out okay in this, but I don't think it was a complete steal. This may mean nothing, but Jason Bay has never been in an environment like Boston in October. This could turn out poorly for him and the Sox.
Manny is NOT better than Bay. Manny of 4 years ago was a historically great hitter, Manny of today is merely a very good hitter. Bay is as good a hitter as Manny is at this point in his career, he is about 14 runs better in the field just through this point in the season, and is a far better baserunner. Of course, I don't buy into the whole performing under pressure thing either. We're talking about major league players. These guys made it to the show because they are the best at what they do.
I understand that a player's value drops as he approaches free agency, but to me the talent going back to Pittsburgh seems commensurate with one season of Jason Bay, not a season and two months. It just seems stunning to me that this is all that was available for a player of Bay's caliber.
Marcel is absolutely right. BR's Neutralized Stats on the two have Bay at .290/.383/.532=.915, Manny at .295/.394/.519=.913. Seven years younger and under contract for an additional year and the Red Sox really are looking good in this deal.
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