So today’s a date in Red Sox history that for as important as it was, I bet there are few fans (including myself) who could’ve picked this date out of a lineup.
2002: Dan Duquette is fired as Red Sox GM.
We all know he wouldn’t give Roger Clemens enough money to come back and had issues with pretty much every manager that came into town in his decade (or so) of running the Sox.
Before we all stand up and applaud, let’s give the man some credit. If you look at his record, he actually did a pretty good job for the Sox.
Who were three of Dan Duquette’s first free agent signings for the Sox following the strike in 1994? Hint, none of them ever played for the Sox.
In 1995, he pulled the trigger to bring Rick Aguilera to Boston. Even if it was for just a half season, Ags recorded 20 saves and all it cost the Sox was a minor leaguer, J.J. Johnson, and Frank Rodriguez, who went a combined 29-39 for his career with an ERA of 5.53.
1996: Parted ways with Ken Ryan, Lee Tinsley and Glenn Murray to get Heathcliff Slocumb and two other guys I never heard of. At the offset the trade didn’t look that great, but we know what happened next. (Of course at the time, I looked at this trade and was outraged that he gave up Ken Ryan. I thought he was gonna be awesome.)
1997: Slocumb becomes a Mariner. And Red Sox history is changed forever by the additions of Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek.
Following the 1997 season, another champion piece comes to Boston, as Duquette reels in NL Cy Young winner Pedro Martinez for Carl Pavano and Tony Armas, Jr.
Then in 1999, Duquette brought Carl Everett to Boston, shipping off Adam Everett and minor leaguer Greg Miller. While Carl Everett would end up showing us he’s a head-case, it was fun to watch other teams complain about how close he was to the plate when he stood in the box.
Then there were Duquette’s big signings: Tim Wakefield, Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and Dennis Eckersly have to be at the top of that list.
Really, if you look back at what Duquette managed to do, it’s rather amazing how many of the 2004 pieces came into place because of the Duke.
So on this day, March 1, 2009, let’s reflect & thank the Duke for his role (including being fired) in helping the Sox win two World Series in four years. Good day Duke wherever you are (last I knew he was GM in the Israel Baseball League, no joke!)
New Rules for free agency went into place (and were subsequently removed) during the strike of 1994 meaning the Red Sox signing of Sammy Sosa, John Wetteland and Kevin Appier were voided.
Photo courtesy Sonsofsamhorn.com
Even in the final hours of the Manny trade fiasco last July, I was embattled with myself as to whether or not I truly wanted to see the Red Sox lose the HOF slugger.
As is typical with myself and most sports fans, at the end of the day you get on with your life and love your team for who they are, not necessarily who they were just hours before. Thus, I wished him well and good-riddance at the same time.
In light of everything that came out through the Red Sox media relations and Boston media, combined with Manny’s “miraculous” recovery from his “Boston injuries,” I feel I don’t need an explanation from Manny, but would still be interested in hearing his side of the story.
Well, up until today.
In the last 24 hours, the Dodgers, seemingly the only team interested in giving Manny a contract worth anything even halfway resembling the sluggers wildest dreams, gave him basically a take-it-or-leave-it offer, at one year for $25M.
What does Manny do?
just to say: Thanks but no thanks.
To any other GMs paying attention, if this isn’t the clearest sign as to Manny’s intentions, you may want to start looking for another job in another organization, like Burger King or Starbucks.
Manny has one reason and one reason only for saying no to this contract offer.
He doesn’t want to play hard. He doesn’t want to need to play a full season at the pace he played for LA last August & September. Frankly, he doesn’t want to play a full season, period.
Manny’s not stupid. He knows he’s among the best the game’s ever seen. You don’t think he saw what Roger Clemens was able to get with Houston and later the Yankees, with all kinds of personal clauses in the contract and think, hey, I can do that too?
By getting a 4-6 year deal at $25M/year, Manny obviously would have the liberty in finishing his career in Manny style, which may or may not include actually playing baseball.
Instead, what he sees the Dodgers offering, is a one year deal that would essentially prove to the baseball world what we already knew, he tanked on the Sox last year.
How would we know? Because his one-year contract would force him to play like this (.396 AVG, .489 OBP, .743 SLG, 1.232 OPS) for another FULL season before sending him back into the free agent market where he gets ANOTHER contract.
Most players have good seasons right before becoming free agents and Manny in many ways would be just like every other player entering a free agent year. He’d be more encouraged to play harder to get his money.
Of course his problem is 162 games is an eternity in Manny-time. That’s not even enough time to wash those “well-kept” dreadlocks more than once or twice. Not enough time to count how much money he can pile up on his bed. Not enough time to even find special places in Dodger stadium to take a leak.
Manny doesn’t care about his team. He cares about one thing and one thing only, Manny. While that’s not entirely bad, there are millions of other people like him around the world, He’s in the enviable position of being one of the best baseball players to ever have put on a uniform, but that doesn’t matter because he doesn’t want to play the game.