While warning that Boston’s pending deal with J.D. Drew is a prerequisite to shipping Manny Ramirez elsewhere, the Globe’s Gordon Edes is a little more specific than most about what the Red Sox might expect in return.
The Sox remained deep in Manny RamÃrez trade talks with the Padres, with San Diego sweetening its original offer, according to a source with direct knowledge of the talks. The Padres are offering major league players for RamÃrez, a package that presumably would have to include one of two pitchers: prime setup man Scott Linebrink or ace Jake Peavy. The Sox also have coveted Adrian Gonzalez, a lefthanded-hitting first baseman who put up outstanding numbers in his first full season in 2006: .304, 24 home runs, 38 doubles, and 82 RBIs.
The Dodgers, because of their wealth of appealing young talent — outfielder Matt Kemp, first baseman James Loney, third baseman Andy LaRoche, reliever Jonathan Broxton — and their paucity of power are becoming a popular choice among industry speculators as a RamÃrez landing spot. But their position is still somewhere on the periphery, as they weigh whether they want to part with their kids. There were strong indications yesterday, however, that the Sox would pay at least a portion of RamÃrez’s salary.
In addition to the other teams that have been identified as potential trading partners (Rangers, Phillies, Giants, Orioles, Mets), there may yet be a team or two that has not surfaced publicly. A team mentioned as a possibility should the Red Sox insist on a slugging bat in return: the Mariners, who are not shopping third baseman Adrian Beltre or first baseman Richie Sexson but might be persuaded to part with one or the other in a RamÃrez deal.
Reminding us that “it’s still November and the Orioles already have bought four relievers for more than the Tampa Bay Devil Rays’ projected budget,” the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly applauds the O’s “moxie” in fixing their bullpen, but would prefer to see the free agency shopping come to a halt.
Basically, the Orioles must abandon the dream that they are the Detroit Tigers 2.0 and everything will miraculously mesh in 2007. They must acknowledge that this team is headed for fourth place again and there are no big league-ready reinforcements in the minor leagues. Then they need to spend the next 10 months identifying, acquiring and developing a few players who will be under the club’s financial control for several years and who can complement the existing core of players signed through 2009.
The Orioles can’t repeat the sins of the past, when they thought they were a couple of players away, became desperate when they lost their top choices and stuffed their roster with overpaid, second-tier free agents.
You think Houston’s payout of $100 million over six years for Carlos Lee is a waste of money? Consider that, in the past six years, the Orioles spent roughly $100 million total on free-agent busts David Segui, Marty Cordova, Omar Daal, Rafael Palmeiro, Sidney Ponson, Javy Lopez and Steve Kline.
Each year, the Orioles seemingly arrive at this point, and then proceed to steer their ship into the iceberg once Plan A melts. Alfonso Soriano and Lee, their top target, were too pricey. Starters Barry Zito and Jason Schmidt are still available, but the word within baseball circles is that neither has the slightest interest in coming to Baltimore. No matter the money, no matter the years.
What’s left is a bucketful of Plan B’s and C’s on Desperation Aisle, where the Orioles end up using their rich uncle’s credit card every year. Free agents such as Jay Payton, Aubrey Huff and Trot Nixon likely will get multi-year deals. The Orioles shouldn’t be joining those parties.
The truth is that for the Orioles to replicate the success of this year’s Tigers, they probably need to strip down the organization to its skivvies and start again. Trade off anyone over 30 and rebuild for 2010, when most of the organization’s best prospects could be ready to emerge.
The Pirates, along with having inked reliever Damaso Marte to a two year extension, are amongst those sniffing around starter Jeff Suppan, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Dejan Kovacevic.