There is nothing I hate more than working with a team in which someone is not pulling his or her weight.
But there's a corollary to this, and it's an ethical question that I don't have a good answer to: If someone's potential output is greater, by far, than the potential output of most team members, and the person's actual output is quite a bit greater than the output of other team members, is the person not pulling his or her weight if s/he does not appear to be doing as much as s/he is capable of?
Enter Manny Ramirez.
Every year right around this time, the Red Sox slugger does something fans say is "just Manny being Manny," and the team declines to comment.
This year, it's being taken up a notch.
The brief background, in case you missed it: Ramirez pulled himself out of Friday night's game against the rival Yankees (a game the Red Sox lost 1-0). He claimed to have sore knees, and rather than just sit him out, the Sox sent him to the hospital for an MRI.
His knees looked fine. And if, more than halfway through the year, your knees are sore but not damaged, and you're collecting a $20 million paycheck, you play a big game against a big opponent.
Usually, everyone is very quiet about this. Ramirez does a little whining, the Red Sox management says they'll take care of it in-house, and everybody goes back to playing baseball.
But Ramirez is in the final guaranteed year of his contract, and he has what in baseball is called 5/10 – five years with the same team, and 10 years in the majors. His 5/10 gives him the ability to veto any trade (think: "The Nationals are the worst team in baseball and are out of the playoff race. I won't accept a trade that sends me there.).
But written into his contract are team options for the next two seasons. That means at the end of 2008, the Red Sox can say, "you're coming back to play for us in 2009, and we'll pay you $20 million." And at the end of 2009, they can do that again for 2010.
So Ramirez isn't really sure what his job is going to look like for the next couple of years, and he really doesn't have any control over it.
Add to that, the fact that the trade deadline is fast approaching, so Ramirez' veto power aside, if the Red Sox are going to deal him, it has to be soon.
What's the big deal? Well, since joining the Red Sox in 2001, Ramirez has been named to the all-star team every year. He has finished in the top 10 in MVP voting five times. He hits around or above .300, every year, and tops 20 home runs, and sometimes 40. Check out his
And this is where we come back to the ethical dilemma. Ramirez' potential is huge, and he's
First off, the Sox
That's going to make trading him, as Dan Shaughnessy
Shaughnessy reminds us that this happened back in 2004 with Nomar Garciaparra doing all the whining, and management did manage to make a trade – and the Red Sox won their first World Series in 86 years.
So it could happen.
What's not going to happen is
While this is a little sad, look at the bright side. Yes, there's a learning curve playing left field in Fenway Park, and Ramirez plays the wall fairly well, Pawtucket left fielder
I'm looking forward to seeing what Carter can do for Boston next season.