Mailbag: All about Manny
Beat reporter Ian Browne answers Red Sox fans' questions
I'm as sick of Manny Ramirez's attitude as much as anyone else, but I really think the Sox let their desire to part ways with Manny get the best of them. I'm sure Jason Bay will more than adequately replace Ramirez in the lineup, but we're also giving up Brandon Moss and Craig Hansen, not to mention the remaining seven million on Manny's contract. Isn't this too high a price to be freed of Manny being Manny?
-- Chris F., Portland, Maine
The situation had become nearly unbearable. Manny was acting out, and the team had no idea what to expect from him the rest of the season. Players on the team were getting very tired of his act, and that was the last straw. In the past, the Red Sox were always willing to put up with Manny's controversies. But when it started affecting the morale of the team, general manager Theo Epstein decided that -- to use Manny's recent phrase -- "enough's enough".
Mike Lowell can pick it at third better than anyone in baseball and is a fine hitter, but he is no cleanup guy. It's quite evident after the series with Oakland that teams aren't going to pitch to David Ortiz without a big bopper hitting behind him. Do you foresee the BoSox going out to get someone to protect him in the near future? Is there anyone out there now? Who'll be available after the season? Without Manny's $20 million salary, the Sox should have some funds to play with. Also, why don't the Sox hit Big Papi cleanup and use Bay or Drew in the three hole? Thanks very much.
-- Wes H., Nashville, Tenn.
Lowell did a fine job hitting fourth last September when Manny was unavailable with an oblique injury. The problem is that Lowell is very banged up at the moment with a hip injury. I think the lineup is a work in progress. When Lowell is right, I have no doubt that he can hit fourth. I wouldn't be surprised to see Terry Francona do some tinkering with the lineup over the next few weeks. And I think your Papi scenario has some validity to it. David has hit third for so long that Francona respects that's where his comfort zone is. But Francona and Ortiz both always want to do what is in the best interests of the team.
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With LA not picking up Manny's option years, what do you think are the chances of him winding up signing as a free agent with the Yankees? As much as I don't want to think about it, this seems like something Manny being Manny might do.
-- Andy D., Birmingham, UK
My gut says no. I'm sure Manny would want to play for the Yankees -- he told Joe Morgan as much back in 2003. But the Yankees are moving in a younger direction and they know as well as anyone Manny's unpredictable personality.
In watching the Manny deal go down, I'm wondering if the three-game sweep by the Angels had anything to do with it. Was Manny clogging up the atmosphere in the clubhouse and if the Sox had, say, won two out of three against the Angels, would he have stayed?
-- Obrey B., Redlands, Calif.
The lifeless way the Red Sox played against the Angels was an example of the drain the Ramirez situation was having on the team. So, yes, in that sense, it could have had an impact. But the situation was much more complex. Manny had gotten so insecure about his contract that he was beginning to sour the atmosphere.
With the All-Star Game being played at Yankee Stadium this year, commemorating the final year of the Yankees playing there, what do you think the chances are that the 2012 Midsummer Classic would be played at Fenway for the 100th anniversary?
-- Matt B., Acton, Mass.
I think there's a great chance that will happen. How often does a baseball stadium get to celebrate a 100th year anniversary? I don't think that the 1999 All-Star Game being played at Fenway will have much of an impact. That would be a good 13 years between All-Star Games.
I recall hearing that the kid we got in the trade for Wily Mo Pena was pretty good. Any chance having him come up to the bigs?
-- Craig R., Quincy, Mass.
You are talking about Chris Carter, who did play a game for the Red Sox earlier this season, going 2-for-3. Carter is having a terrific season at Pawtucket. As of Aug. 4, he was hitting .300 with 24 homers and 78 RBIs. The problem is where would you play him? Unless there is an injury, I don't see Carter being called up until September.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.