Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jason Bay: 2008's Orlando Cabrera?

As the entire world knows by now, the Red Sox acquired Jason Bay from the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon in exchange for disgruntled Manny Ramirez.

Bay is a terrific outfielder with pretty good speed and is a good base runner. His numbers compared to Manny's this year are strikingly similar. But I could not help but see the parallel between this trade and the one the Sox made four years ago today when they sent Nomar Garciaparra packing to Chicago.

The fans reacted to Nomar being traded for Orlando Cabrera and Doug Mientkiewicz with: "Was that all?" It seems to be a very similar reaction today, that the Sox got rid of Manny, along with Craig Hansen and Brandon Moss and all they got was Bay (and no pitching back).

Like in 2004, the Sox were looking to move a disgruntled superstar they felt they could not count on down the stretch, as it was health issues with Nomar and just about everything else with Manny. I have heard that Manny's act, especially over the last few weeks, has poisoned the Red Sox clubhouse, and cast a pall over the club. A divorce was definitely coming between Manny and the Sox, but I really thought they'd wait until the season concluded to let him walk and get two draft picks for him. Now they have gone out and gotten a talented player in Bay, who unlike Cabrera, is under their control through next year. (OC was a free agent after 2004 and eventually walked.)

For those of you wanting to know Bay's numbers, go here.

Jason is 29, which is seven years younger than Ramirez. This is the fourth time he's actually been traded. He was originally drafted by Montreal in 2000, dealt to the Mets in 2002, and was traded to the Padres in 2003. He was then dealt to the Bucs in 2003 at the deadline date for Brian Giles. He didn't make his MLB debut until he reached Pittsburgh. He's also making $5.5 million this year, more than three times less than what the Sox were on the hook for Manny. He's put up some terrific numbers in Pittsburgh, which is primarily a pitchers park, but of course, he's done it with a lousy Pirates team all these years. He now moves over to the Big Stage of Fenway, and has to fill some very large shoes in Manny Ramirez.

It behooves Jason to get off to a good start with the Red Sox. He makes his debut tomorrow night at Fenway, and should be warmly received in his first game. Bay's originally from Canada, British Columbia to be exact. (Let's hope he works out better than that other Canadian the Sox picked up last July 31. No names need be mentioned here.)

I do have one question: will Jason be given number 38? Curt Schilling said he would consider giving up the number if a large contribution is made on behalf of ALS. (Schill might be done with the Sox as we all know. But I really don't think that will happen.)

Manny now goes to Los Angeles, and can be a free agent after the season, as the options in his contract were dropped. Should he return to Fenway Park as an opposition player one day, I'm sure he'll get a night of standing ovations, the way players like Cabrera, Dave Roberts and Kevin Millar. He'll always be One of the 25.

But should he show up one day wearing That Uniform, you know the one with those pinstripes, well, that would be a different story.

Welcome to Boston, Jason Bay.


Peter N said...

JQ, well said. Check out Jeff Jacob's Hartford Courant Friday morning a nutshell, it's the best I've read. Here's the link...,0,1271944.column

Have a great weekend, my friend...Peter

The Omnipotent Q said...

Thanks for the article, Peter. Excellent column from Jeff Jacobs.

Have a great weekend.