Saturday, February 04, 2006


Does it Do Any Good to Demand?

By the end of the month, our boys will be reporting to camp and the new season will be in motion. We will see quite a few new faces in the blessed ballcap "B", but many will be familiar... some which perhaps we did not expect to see again.

The season ended on a sour note - can't win 'em all, folks - and a cry rose up from the malcontents. Demands were made for a trade by two marquee players. At least we know of only two, right?

Perhaps there were others. I like to think maybe Edgah wanted out... and was smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it to the press. He was dealt early. No rumors, no setbacks, just smooth-sailing, with no attempts by the Atlanta front office to fleece the farm. If there was blood in Boston, the braves didn't smell it. Reticence served Rentaria well this time; His unhappiness, while plain for the world to see, was not shouted of from the roof-tops, but brooded upon silently behind closed doors, where our young braintrust was free to negotiate a reasonable solution.

I would like to know what Manny and Wellsie think they have accomplished by making their trade demands so widely known.

Recent reports indicate another failed attempt to trade Manny to the west coast, as the Angels balk at the steep price of both Manny's pay and trade value. An earlier trade fell through when Manny made known that he would require his new team to pick up both ($20 million) option years at the end of his contract. For those of us with brains and logic skills, it's quite dizzying trying to figure out what manny actually wants... we realize these are tools he may not possess, but surely he's paying someone to advise him? (How often would you want to strangle your client if that were you?) With his repeated fits of unhappiness, Manny Ramirez has placed the Boston management in an awkward position - over and over and over again. His monstrous salary alone limits the interest of other teams, as so few can afford to pay him. He might have a beef there with the players' association, since their ruling will not allow him to accept a pay reduction, yet I get the feeling Manny doesn't even realize this is a problem. If you told the man that he makes more than two-thirds of the salary of the entire Tampa Bay team, he probably wouldn't get it. (It seems wasteful to pay someone that much when they are incapable of recognizing how much it really is.) By "tying the hands" of the GM, Manny has essentially made himself impossible to trade. He has driven down his trade value time and again, until there is nowhere left to go. Meanwhile his future is being determined by people who are fortunately much, much brighter than he is. While paying lip service to the possibilities, theo & co. will only go so far to cut their losses on this one. We will not accept fodder just to get the cry-baby out of the fold. After so much time, his complaints now fall on deaf ears- (oh except for the dumb ones on WEEI.) By the end of the month we will almost surely see him take it all back, smiling sheepishly as he pulls on his navy cap and double-points to the crowd. He will claim, once again, that he wants to win for the city of Boston. And we will cheer, once again, at least until the trading deadline.

Boomer has also waited in vain for a trade announcement this winter. After sounding off this Fall, Wells has watched from the sidelines as Sox management has toiled unsuccessfully to placate his desires. Just this week, Boomer's agent felt the need to reinstate goodwill in the situation by asserting that Wells would be reporting to camp with belles on his toes and a jolly good smile, toasting jovially to another year in Boston if he has not been traded. David has claimed this is not about Boston, but simply a desire to be closer to home as he finishes his career. Whether this is true or not is irrelevant. David Wells may have a few loose screws, but is known to be crafty and is clearly intelligent... So why would he make his desires to be traded a public matter? It's clear now that he has shot himself in the foot; teams on the west coast, seeing that the sox have no choice, have tried to take advantage of the situation. The result has been NO DEAL, as the sox seek fair compensation for a valuable ace and will not allow him to simply be stolen. One look at the roster and we clearly see the need to unload the great Boom... and might have already if he had only kept his trap shut.

I understand that players believe this is the only thing in their power to get traded. Do they understand the results? This tool - the press - is a dangerous one, with a mind of its own and a strong tendancy to backfire. Players and agents should look at these situations carefully and take heed to the dangers demonstrated. Shouting demands with all the sound and the fury of an explosion can so easily result in nothing but the stench of ill will and distrust from a fanbase. Whisper your wants, and they may be more swiftly granted.

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