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Manny Fun Times Were Had

First let me present an idea: there should be a video game in which you play the management of a baseball team and you have to deal with Manny Ramirez. The Sims, move aside. It's Manny's world and we're all just laughing and groaning through it.

Now to business: Manny is a baby. Everything is a slight, nobody respects him, contrary to what a "rational" person might read into the huge contract, constant recognition as one of the best hitters of his generation, and, most of all, a generally bemused affection for his Manny-being-Manny antics which would have put a non-superstar player on the Jose Guillen, talented but not-in-my-back-yard category. The guy is given more leash than a Great Dane that just scarfed down some beano, but he nonetheless wants out.

The Sox will not trade Manny by noon tomorrow. They expect to make a serious run at another title this year. In that light, they will only trade Manny if they can get near-equal value. They cannot afford to put that big a dent in the line-up. Without Manny, they have four hitters in the every day line up whom no one is afraid of right now: Ellsbury, Coco, Lowrie, and Tek. I think Nick C. from the Globe has it right that they will exercise its option for next year and try to trade him (again) in the off-season.

Since they would be giving up their clean-up hitter and they expect to still win now, there are few options out there of players available and who make the Sox as good or better now. On the other hand, more teams are possible trading partners for this trade than in most trades. That's because many contenders would love to have Manny in their lineup. So, maybe there is something that works among National League contenders. But I doubt it.

The Sox are better with Manny in the line up and they are at the mercy of his pouting. If he mails this season in, no Boston sports writer should vote for him for the Hall of Fame and he should be roundly booed if he ever returns to the Fens after this year. He owes us his effort. He's paid very very well and the fans have supported him despite his maddening mistakes and his demoralizing carelessness.

Manny will not be traded by noon tomorrow, but I am now in the camp of people who hopes he never plays in the Red Sox uniform again after this year.

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