Splitting Jason Bay

Who is Jason Bay?

Well, we know Red Sox fans love him so far — key roles in three games will do that — but, at least initially, there appeared to be a tendency among the Boston sports scribes to underestimate just how good a hitter Bay is.

Events have somewhat overtaken this post (that’s what having a kid will do to research-heavy pieces), but I think it’s still instructive to look at Bay’s splits for this season and his career. They show how consistently — regardless of situation — Bay is well above league average, and they also help dispel some of the mythologizing that the Red Sox have acquired a poorly performing hitter in the clutch.

(A reminder that sOPS+ is OPS+ where 100 is league average for the particular circumstances represented by that split. It’s a great way to tell if a hitter is above league average even if his numbers are atrocious in universally poor hitting situations such as an 0-2 count, or on balls hit to the infield).

2008 SPLITS

Lefty/Righty: Bay this season has been atrocious against lefties, though it’s instructive to note that his triple off Alan Embree last night raised his batting average against them on the season by 10 points, to .200, and his sOPS+ by another 10 points, to 86. He’s now up to .202 and 93 after a 1-for-4 line, including a homer, off lefties last night. The sample size is extremely small (89 at bats) and his BABIP off lefties this year is extremely low (.231). So I don’t think his lefty line is really a cause for concern.

Also, in briefly looking at Manny Ramirez’s splits, he is equally as bad as Bay against lefties this year compared to his overall average. So even if Bay’s poor numbers are a new paradigm, there’s no reason to belief he would still be any worse against them than the man he’s replacing.

Home/Road: Bay was 100 points of OPS worse away from PNC Park this year, even though it’s a pitcher’s park and fairly large to left field. I’m not sure what to make of that, except that by sOPS+ the numbers are not so extreme — 145 vs. 135, which makes me think most people hit worse away from PNC. But if they do, why does it have a park factor of 97? In either case, Bay’s slugging is what’s really dropped on the road; his home runs were halved in only 44 fewer at bats.

Wins/losses: Bay performs much worse in games his team loses — but, then, so does everyone. His sOPS+ is close — 147 in wins, 137 in losses.

Batting order: Terry Francona needs to take note: Bay as a cleanup hitter this year is much better than Bay anywhere else: .300/.393/.568 in 190 at bats, a 129 sOPS+ in the spot where you expect terrific numbers across the league. By contrast, his numbers from the three hole, where he spent about equal time, are pedestrian relative to other batters in that spot: .260/.353/.455.

By count: Bay is above average in every count and after every count (that’s 22 different permutations) except six. He’s very impressive on the first pitch (160 sOPS+), and any extreme variations thereafter can certainly be attributed to luck, as the sample sizes are so small. But here are some interesting ones anyway: He’s 4 for 6 with three homers when swinging on a 2-0 count, he’s got a 210 sOPS+ when swinging at an 0-1 pitch, 228 when swinging 2-1 and 180 when swinging 1-2. Remarkably, he’s terrible when he swings in an 0-2 count. Granted, everyone is, but Bay’s sOPS+ this year in that count is 5. Five. Three hits in 34 at bats, with a sacrifice fly and a hit-by-pitch. After working the count to 3-0, Bay invariably walks (.771 OBP with only one hit and one strikeout among his nine at-bats in 35 plate appearances), but that 1-for-9 gives him a 24 sOPS+. Indeed, swinging on 3-0 is usually a pretty good idea, but it hasn’t really worked out for Bay. Similarly, don’t expect him to walk if the count gets to 0-2: He’s only done it three times in 74 plate appearances.

This is all fun trivia, but the larger point is that Bay consistently is well above average regardless of the count. 119 sOPS+ after a first-pitch ball, 164 after a first-pitch strike, 172 after a 1-1 count, 149 after 2-1, 192 after 1-2, 158 after 2-2, 118 with three balls, 128 with two strikes.

Bases: Men on? Bases empty? Doesn’t matter to Bay, who has a 136 sOPS+ with the bases empty and a 150 when there’s someone on. This year, the breakdown of which runners are on base and where seems to be extreme to the point of anomaly. With a runner only on first, he’s got a 1.251 OPS (220), but with runners in scoring position it drops to .705 (86). It might be the only important split in which Bay is below average.

Outs: Consistency is the word for Bay here. Zero outs: 136 sOPS+, one out: 160 sOPS+, two outs: 136 sOPS+. His OPS doesn’t drop below .860 in any case.

Clutch: Here’s something interesting for those worried about Jason Bay in the clutch: He’s above average in every single clutch category. And in the most important of those — late and close (which is seventh inning or later, and the team tied, ahead by one or the tying run at least on deck) — Bay is at his best, posting a .316/.480/.614 line, good for a 204 sOPS+. With RISP and two out, Bay hits 101 sOPS+, in tie games, he’s at 152, in games within one run, 157. Similarly, in high-leverage situations (as defined by Fangraphs, I assume), Bay has a 195 sOPS+, hitting .310/.440/.676 with more RBI (27) than in medium or low leverage situations despite half the number of plate appearances.

By inning: This also speaks to the clutch factor. Bay this year has been better as the game goes on — a 161 sOPS+ in innings 4-6 and 144 in 7-9. In his 17 extra-inning plate appearances this season, Bay has a 388 sOPS+, which of course includes the key triple in his debut game with the Sox.

By pitcher type: Bay does worse against finesse pitchers, but again, so does everyone, in part because the definition precludes high-walk hurlers, and Bay derives a lot of his OPS from his good batting eye. Nevertheless, Bay is above average against all categories: 152 sOPS+ against power pitchers, 179 against average pitchers and 114 against finesse pitchers. Similarly, he’s got a 107 sOPS+ against fly ball pitchers, 139 against average pitchers and 167 against ground ball pitchers (against whom he’s got a surprisingly high .586 slugging percentage).

By hit location: Noticing a trend? Bay, again, is consistently above league average in nearly every category. Even on balls hit to the infield, where his stats are necessarily terrible (.121/.121/.121), his 16 infield hits give him a 227 sOPS+. On balls hit to the outfield, he has a .542 batting average and a 118 sOPS+. When he pulls the ball, he has a 1.126 OPS, though that’s actually below average. When he hits it up the middle, he produces nearly twice as much offense as average, and he’s still 20 percent above average when he hits it to the opposite field. Type of ball hit? Same story: A 135 sOPS+ on ground balls (keep in mind that means the slugging percentage is necessarily minuscule), a 183 on fly balls and a 102 on line drives (where it’s hard to do much better than his .759/.745/.981 line).

CAREER SPLITS

I don’t want to focus too heavily on career splits, otherwise this will be a huge post, so I’ll just highlight any major differences from his 2008 splits.

Lefty/Righty: As discussed before, Bay’s 2008 is extremely anomalous to his career, where he’s actually posted better numbers against lefties (sadly, there’s no sOPS+ stat for career splits in Baseball-Reference). Bay killed lefties in 2005 (1.064 OPS) and 2006 (1.014), before sliding to a .742 OPS in 2007. Of course, Bay was bad all around in ’07, and that performance against lefties actually matched his performance against righties. 2008 is his first full season in which he’s performed worse against lefties than righties, so the Yankees might want to hold off bringing in Damaso Marte just yet.

Home/road: For his career, Bay’s posted a virtually identical OPS at home and on the road:

First/second half. Practically no difference.

Batting position: Although he’s batted third or fourth the vast majority of his career, Bay’s best numbers (.330/.416/.571) have come in the 95 games in which he’s batted fifth, so maybe Tito is on to something after all.

By count: For his career, Bay is insane in any count in which there are fewer than two strikes, with no OPS lower than .925. In full counts, he posts a 1.007 OPS. With two strikes on him, his OPS slides to .627, which is close to his 2008 numbers, which again are nearly 30 percent above league average.

By baserunner: For his career, Bay is significantly above his 2008 numbers with runners in scoring position, posting a .907 OPS in 885 plate appearances. His bases empty/men on split is about even.

Clutch: Bay has always been very good with runners in scoring position and two out, posting an .898 OPS. He’s also better in tie games, though his late and close OPS slides to .777; 2008 is the only year in which he’s topped his overall career OPS in this split. Bay over his career has performed his best in high leverage situations (.911 OPS) and in extra innings. Although Bay doesn’t do as well in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings, he’s above his average in the ninth.

By pitcher: Bay performs equally well against power and finesse pitchers, but performs best against the majority of hurlers who fall in between those extremes. Similarly, Bay doesn’t do as well against extreme fly- or ground-ball pitchers, though he manages to counter-intuitively post better numbers (including a .511 career slugging percentage) against groundballers.

By hit: Somewhere in his career, Jason Bay hit an infield double. I want to know about that. Otherwise, he’s very good when he pulls the ball or hits it up the middle, not as good to the opposite field (but still an .896 OPS).

To recap, what the Red Sox have acquired is perhaps the best right-handed hitter available at the trade deadline, one who is consistently well above league average in every situation — against every type of pitcher, in almost every inning, regardless of score. It’s often been cited as Manny Ramirez’s best quality, and it’s certainly one of Bay’s, as well.

44 comments… add one

  • Excellent work, Paul.
    It should be noted that Bay’s performance is not dependent on whether or not he feels like playing.
    Even though the Red Sox basically paid other teams to get rid of Manny, I am excited that they got a player as universally excellent as Jason Bay. I didn’t need convincing; Bay is a legitimate star who has yet to play for a competitive club. He may just thrive in Boston’s atmosphere, and exceed everybody’s expectations.

    Kazz August 4, 2008, 1:00 am
  • Jeez, Paul. Your newborn must be sleeping in big chunks!
    Thanks for fleshing out Bay for us, he’s someone I have been reserved in my comments about since I just don’t know a lot about him. Yeoman’s work, as usual, great job!

    SF August 4, 2008, 8:40 am
  • “…To recap, what the Red Sox have acquired is perhaps the best right-handed hitter available at the trade deadline,…”
    i thought they already had the best?… ;)
    aided by the fact that nobody else who was shopping had a manny, and 2 decent prospects to offer up…
    kidding aside, bay looks as advertised so far…and the stress factor has been removed from the clubhouse…

    dc August 4, 2008, 9:29 am
  • Excellent work, Paul
    I’m starting to think that you maybe have some kind of assistant with nothing to do but look up Red Sox information for you.
    :)

    Brad August 4, 2008, 9:59 am
  • I’ve always considered Bay a elite or pseudo-elite player, but you’ve given proof to my own impression of him. Once again you do amazing work, despite having a very small Red Sox fan to take care of now.

    Atheose August 4, 2008, 10:30 am
  • Both Bay and Nady look like big time contributers to our teams…

    krueg August 4, 2008, 10:55 am
  • And Craig Hansen blew it against the Cubs on Sunday.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 4, 2008, 11:53 am
  • Meanwhile Manny is 8-13 with 5 RBIs for the Dodgers in 3 games. Given how terrible the NLWest is I wouldn’t be surprised if this single move is what lifts the Dodgers to winning that division. Seems everyone got what they needed out of this deal.
    SFs must be also enjoying the fresh air that comes with a new enthusiastic player, especially when it replaces the stench of what had become an untenable situation.

    IronHorse (yf) August 4, 2008, 12:02 pm
  • Speaknig of blowing it IBM, it’s nice to see that Kyle Farnsworth can still let the Yankees (and, in this case, the Sox) down. Did you see that horrific 3ER-in-1IP performance he tossed against the Rays yesterday to blow the Tigers’ lead? Have fun with that Jim Leyland.

    IronHorse (yf) August 4, 2008, 12:03 pm
  • It’s very hard for me to watch the Manny Snow in LA, IH. Apart from my own base tendency to root for Red Sox trades to do well (necessitating rooting against the traded player), his comments to the press there are so transparently fake — exact replicas of his comments about Boston at the beginning of the season — that it really takes a lot of the sheen off the man for me. We can talk about how he just plays for the love of the game and all this (probably an innaccurate outgrowth of the “hitting savant” ridiculousness), but he all but orchestrated his own departure from Boston just so he could become a free agent while he still has a decent-sized payday to come, and I don’t think this is a coincidence that it comes shortly after signing with Mr. Opt Out, Scott Boras (we all know the only reason Manny didn’t have an opt-out clause after, say, the 2005 season is because Boras wasn’t his agent in 2001). The callousness with which Ramirez carried out this orchestration is painful for me as a Red Sox fan, and his subsequent comments in LA are simply the salt he’s pouring in the wound he opened.
    I hate to say this, given how much I’ve liked and defended him over the years and especially after reading through the great picture thread at SOSH that SF linked to last night, but Manny’s pretty well dead to me now. If he ever came back to Fenway, I’d stand up and cheer him because of all he did here, but it would be cheering the memory of a ballplayer, not the ballplayer himself.
    So, in short, yes, it is indeed a breath of fresh air to have Jason Bay here, excited and contributing. And, judging by the seven or eight standing ovations he received over the weekend, I don’t think I’m alone.

    Paul SF August 4, 2008, 12:44 pm
  • I know this is apples to oranges but comparing Manny’s departure to Ken Griffey Jr.’s depresses me. The part where Griffey actually apologized to fans for inappropriate actions… I know it’s completely different but it would have been nice to hear Manny express some regret over his part in this whole thing.

    rootbeerfloat August 4, 2008, 12:55 pm
  • I haven’t seen any of Manny’s LA quotes but am not surprised by what you write Paul.
    What I don’t really get is why opt out essentially two months early, which is what Manny did. He could have just stayed in Boston and continued to rake there and then been in just as strong a position (with only a small rather than a massive “buyer-beware” sign on his forehead) come the end of the season. I have to assume that Boras did not encourage the early opt-out/quit the game strategy, though I am sure he would have fully endorsed and encouraged the end of the year opt-out.
    In the end, given that opt-out was assured anyway and he clearly no longer wanted to play in Boston, doesn’t Boston win here? If Manny had just walked away after this year, then Moss and Hansen alone certainly don’t net Bay. They probably overpaid a bit for Bay now, but not compared to what they would have had to give up after a Manny opt-out after the ’08 season. It seems to me that they got to use Manny as a fat bargaining chip, albeit on a tight deadline, rather than just lose him altogether. Or am I missing something?

    IronHorse (yf) August 4, 2008, 1:11 pm
  • there are the two draft picks they would have gotten if Manny had declined arbitration. But there is also the possibility that this situation was fixable (hey, Manny did want out in the past) and that they would have picked him up for another year and Manny would have been okay. In the end, I think they made the only kind of deal they would have, even under the circumstances. They got back a guy who might be a wash with Manny going forward this year, and someone who is a good value in 2009.

    Nick-YF August 4, 2008, 1:16 pm
  • a large number of #44 tee shirts around Fenway yesterday. I was pretty surprised. to bad the runs saved metric can’t be factored in to Bay’s presence as well.

    dw (sf) August 4, 2008, 1:25 pm
  • I’m with IH to the extent that I do think Manny’s opt-out scheming will backfire a bit and result in a less impressive contract (so says Buster Olney, anyway: http://tinyurl.com/mannyolney). So, for me, I’m happy to see Manny do well in the NL, but I hope his new contract is very small indeed.

    stuck working August 4, 2008, 1:38 pm
  • I hope so stuck, but I think he’ll get his 100mil over 4 years. The Mets or the Angels will pay it.

    Atheose August 4, 2008, 1:46 pm
  • I think the bidding for Manny will be huge. Barry Bonds is the only athletic superstar I can think of who has not landed the big money regardless of behavioral issues and he has a federal court case hanging over his head. Teams will pay through the nose for a guy who can produce, regardless of how disfuncational he may be.
    I still don’t get why – from Manny’s perspective – he would opt out early/quit. I know it is dumb to ask why would Manny do anything since everything other than his performance at the plate is unpredictable and perhaps impossible to explain even after the fact, but I really don’t get how he possibly gains by doing what he has done rather than simply playing hard for 2 months the same way he is playing in LA. Unless he wants to have a small body of work to show that he doesn’t need no stinkin’ David Ortiz in order to hit like a maniac or he wants the publicity that makes his off-season in ’08/’09 the biggest story in baseball. I just don’t get what he has gained and in terms of reputation he has lost quite a bit I think.

    IronHorse (yf) August 4, 2008, 2:01 pm
  • What I don’t really get is why opt out essentially two months early, which is what Manny did. He could have just stayed in Boston and continued to rake there and then been in just as strong a position (with only a small rather than a massive “buyer-beware” sign on his forehead) come the end of the season.
    The reason is that after the season he would have been at the mercy of the club’s decision-making. In that way, he had no control over the situation. That control was/is worth everything to Boras: free agency over all. With 2/40 left at the club’s behest, Boras surely calculated that he could get more guaranteed (he is most certainly correct about this) if even at a lesser annual value. The only way to get Manny more money was to get rid of the club options, and my guess is that he didn’t want Manny to put up unbelievable numbers and then have to wait for the Sox to opt out, which if he put up unbelievable numbers they may not have done. In other words, the fastest way for Boras to gain control over Manny’s future was to have the option years relinquished by whatever club was employing him. The Sox would never have given these up in advance of their obligation to decide, so Manny had to seek that option elsewhere.
    I honestly don’t think that Manny’s earning power has been diminished at all for a longer-term deal. If he rakes and leads the Dodgers to the playoffs on his back he will make a mint. He might have done the same playing for the Sox, but he wasn’t in control of his future with the Sox, the Sox were. Big difference, especially for Scott Boras.

    SF August 4, 2008, 2:08 pm
  • Like SF, I don’t think Manny’s “antics” (by the way, this is one side of the story-the idea that he was sitting out games to force the Sox’s hand. Manny denies this.) hurt him much on the market. The key is that he is going to reach the open market early enough for him to get a contract which will likely guarantee (key word) him more money going forward than his deal with Sox guaranteed.
    The idea that Manny and Boras orchestrated this end is a theory. Was Manny fixated on the fact that the Sox had a team option on him. Maybe. Or maybe he was just pissed at them for other more emotional reasons. Maybe he wasn’t quite as calculating as people believe. Maybe he wanted out of Boston because he was sick of the people in the front office.

    Nick-YF August 4, 2008, 2:20 pm
  • I think the bidding for Manny will be huge.
    Heyman has a good column up that notes that the Red Sox “called 29 clubs” and received zero interest for Manny at $7 million for the final two months of the season, and only three — Marlins, Dodgers, Phillies — for FREE for the final two months.
    It’s a good behind-the-scenes piece on the trade, and it seems to emphasize how Ramirez is very close to achieving Bonds status — too much trouble to be worth the money. Of course, if he does rake and is a good boy through October, that feeling might abate.
    I did raise an eyebrow when Heyman said Theo called 29 clubs though. It’s probably a figure of speech, or Heyman just wasn’t thinking about it, but I seriously doubt Epstein offered Ramirez to the Yankees.

    Paul SF August 4, 2008, 2:20 pm
  • “Heyman has a good column up that notes that the Red Sox “called 29 clubs” and received zero interest for Manny at $7 million for the final two months of the season, and only three — Marlins, Dodgers, Phillies — for FREE for the final two months.
    It’s a good behind-the-scenes piece on the trade, and it seems to emphasize how Ramirez is very close to achieving Bonds status — too much trouble to be worth the money. Of course, if he does rake and is a good boy through October, that feeling might abate.”
    But it’s not free. It’s also not comparable to the situation Manny wil be in at the end of the season. Manny’s situation, as a rental, is not the most appealing one for all but a very few teams. So do you give away a decent prospect package for an outfielder who is dead-set on testing free agency at the end of the year? How many teams were in on Sabathia, given his rental status.

    Nick-YF August 4, 2008, 2:26 pm
  • I found when JBay got the infield double, but still nothing on how he got it.
    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/playbyplay?gameId=270824118

    LocklandSF August 4, 2008, 2:29 pm
  • Right on, Nick. The big questions for Boras/Manny is “what are Manny’s earning powers between now and retirement” and “how can we lock in as much of that as is humanly possible”. Waiting on the Sox to decline an option was probably not ideal for them. I am not inclined to believe in conspiracies, but certainly Manny is in a better situation in more synchronicity with how Boras likes to work than he was a few days ago. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. So, conspiracy or not, Manny is in a new stadium and untethered by his team after the year ends. He has every ability to demonstrate how great he can be, and without an amibiguous employment scenario dangling around him.
    Here’s a question: if Manny were re-upped by the Sox after 2008 for one year, and had a shit year and declined due to age/injury, how much could he earn in his next contract, which might be his last? And, how much will he earn in a multi-year guaranteed contract after this season as a free agent if that’s what he signs? I think it is fair to say that Manny has greater earning power over the next two to four years then he did a week ago, since he wasn’t in control of the options with the Sox.

    SF August 4, 2008, 2:46 pm
  • SF is right on here. I cant believe there is any doubt that Manny is gonna get a big contract this off-season. The game is still flush with cash and even with his slightly diminished skill set he will still be one of the top hitters on the market. Helping bring 2 titles to the sox will also add some value for a mid-level team showing they are serious about winning. This is still a good time for him to sign a high value contract to close out his career. Given Boras is his agent Id be shocked if it doesnt happen…

    Sam-YF August 4, 2008, 3:03 pm
  • I am not inclined to believe in conspiracies, but certainly Manny is in a better situation in more synchronicity with how Boras likes to work than he was a few days ago. He will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. So, conspiracy or not, Manny is in a new stadium and untethered by his team after the year ends.
    For that matter, it’s not really much of a conspiracy to assume that Ramirez was acting a way that his agent said would assure the maximum payday. J.D. Drew did this in LA, except that he actually had the opt-out clause on which to act. That Boras and Ramirez together orchestrated Manny’s recent events is indisputable (in my mind, anyway, sans evidence other than what we see and know about them).
    Nick, I guess giving up the prospects might have dissuaded some contenders, but two months of Manny at no salary cost, plus the two draft picks if/when he left? Seems like that would attract more than three teams.

    Paul SF August 4, 2008, 3:06 pm
  • “That Boras and Ramirez together orchestrated Manny’s recent events is indisputable (in my mind, anyway, sans evidence other than what we see and know about them).”
    I think there is the potential that the situation was more nuanced and complicated than this. But you did qualify that this is what you think. So I’ll agree to maybe disagree.
    “plus the two draft picks if/when he left?”
    but then you have to go the specific context of each team and how much a deal like that would make sense for a team right now. Three teams doesn’t strike me as so few given the circumstances. It really doesn’t.

    Nick-YF August 4, 2008, 3:13 pm
  • Tx SF et al – I understand it better now. Nevertheless, notwithstanding the reported lack of interest from teams in renting Manny at the trading deadline, I don’t think Manny will have any difficulty landing a very large multi-year deal with a team in need of a righty bat. I just don’t think action or inaction at the in-season trading deadline – when teams are either trying to re-jigger slightly for a stretch run or to dump salary/players in order to save money and/or restock young talent for future years – is indicative of what happens in the off-season when all teams are doing a complete reassess, being freed of contracts, ect. – especially in this case where Manny made clear he wanted to be free after ’08. Manny as a DH would I assume be pretty attractive to AL teams with deep pockets. I really don’t want to see him in NY though.

    IronHorse (yf) August 4, 2008, 3:31 pm
  • Wow, thanks, Lockland. I guess when a game goes 15 innings, you’re bound to see everything…

    Paul SF August 4, 2008, 3:48 pm
  • “Nick, I guess giving up the prospects might have dissuaded some contenders, but two months of Manny at no salary cost, plus the two draft picks if/when he left? Seems like that would attract more than three teams.”
    The asking price for Manny was much higher than you are giving credit for here. Im sure if the sox called around and said you can have Manny for free plus 2 prospects for nothing they would have had lots more interest. The sox were asking for a big bat back and as noted before the team that got him had to give up some of its best prospects…
    I also think that giving Boras credit for all of this isnt totally right. Afterall, the sox had tried to trade manny on many occasions prior to Boras being the agent. The sox had been looking to move him and could do so easily after the events of the weeks leading up to the deadline. It seems like the sox FO is being given a completely free ride in this and other discussions. They had a major role in Manny’s departure and his relationship with the organization over the years.

    Sam-YF August 4, 2008, 3:53 pm
  • The asking price for Manny was much higher than you are giving credit for here. Im sure if the sox called around and said you can have Manny for free plus 2 prospects for nothing they would have had lots more interest. The sox were asking for a big bat back and as noted before the team that got him had to give up some of its best prospects…
    Again, I agree with Nick. The Sox got back Jason Bay, it would logically follow that they needed a very good player in return who could slot into the lineup immediately as part of any deal for Manny.
    To clarify, Nick, I am not giving Boras “all credit for this”, but I do think (and I said this before Manny was traded) that it certainly appears to fit into Boras’ MO. Boras wants control over his players’ future, even with the attendant risk. In this case, the result was tailor-made for Boras: his player is a free agent at the end of the year. A-Rod suffered not a whit from the PR debacle that allowed him to be without constraint and a free agent: he gained the largest contract in baseball history, guaranteed, that pays him until his is past 40 years old. Manny now has impending, unquestionable freedom, in lieu of potentially earning $20M and having to face another club option as he hit his late 30s. There is risk in this, but there is also high upside. Boras did not control the situation, by any means, so he can’t be given credit for engineering it. But the result, if I had to guess, is exactly what he wanted.

    SF August 4, 2008, 4:02 pm
  • SF that was me not nick…

    Sam-YF August 4, 2008, 4:10 pm
  • It seemed heading into this season, however, that Manny was not only going to finish out the year, but that the Red Sox were going to pick up his options, and both sides would be happy with that scenario. It was only the last month or so, when Ramirez started making increasingly bizarre public comments, that the split began to seem inevitable — specifically when Ramirez accused the Sox of lying to players and John Henry took the rare step of responding publicly. It was Ramirez that escalated this situation, at least that’s how I understand it.
    Looks like most infield doubles are popups that no one gets a glove on. They should go as errors, but they don’t. Fukodome did get one this year on a line drive that ricocheted off the pitcher’s foot.

    Paul SF August 4, 2008, 4:15 pm
  • SF that was me not nick…
    I agree with Sam!

    SF August 4, 2008, 4:18 pm
  • “I agree with Sam!”
    Its easy to confuse us YF Wes grads!

    Sam-YF August 4, 2008, 4:25 pm
  • Sam-YF August 4, 2008, 4:28 pm
  • It seemed heading into this season, however, that Manny was not only going to finish out the year, but that the Red Sox were going to pick up his options, and both sides would be happy with that scenario. It was only the last month or so, when Ramirez started making increasingly bizarre public comments, that the split began to seem inevitable
    This is exactly why I’ve been so confused. Early in the year, I worried more that Manny would have only a semi-fantastic year and the FO wouldn’t think he was worth $20 million for another year. Then he was doing well so I thought we were set. All of a sudden, he doesn’t want the club to pick up the option and things spiralled out of control. And I’m left sitting here with my kid’s beta fish named Manny and those critters seem to live forever.

    rootbeerfloat August 4, 2008, 4:28 pm
  • It seemed heading into this season, however, that Manny was not only going to finish out the year, but that the Red Sox were going to pick up his options, and both sides would be happy with that scenario.
    Where did you get the impression that the Sox were going to pick up his options? By using the plural, you indicate that you thought they were going to exercise both of them. Was this the indication? I, for one, was under NO impression that the Sox would exercise Manny’s options definitively, and even then I never thought they’d even address the issue until after the season had ended. They don’t even do this with Wakefield, I don’t think, exercising the option before the year is out, much less a $20M a year enigma.
    Did you see statements from the Sox’ FO about picking these options up? If so, I am curious to see how they were worded. I don’t recall them.

    SF August 4, 2008, 4:38 pm
  • “Speaknig of blowing it IBM, it’s nice to see that Kyle Farnsworth can still let the Yankees (and, in this case, the Sox) down. Did you see that horrific 3ER-in-1IP performance he tossed against the Rays yesterday to blow the Tigers’ lead? Have fun with that Jim Leyland.”
    Farnsy tooketh away what the OC gaveth you yesterday in that horrific 8th. (That was one of the worst innings of baseball I’ve seen in a long time. Why couldn’t OC have done that for us when they were in Boston?)
    I questioned the trade of Farnsy to Det because he’s been such a big part of your pen. It now seems fair to suggest that BCash knew he’d used up Farnsy, making this yet another shrewd deal. (I love BCash, I hate BCash.)

    I'm Bill McNeal August 4, 2008, 4:44 pm
  • “Did you see statements from the Sox’ FO about picking these options up? If so, I am curious to see how they were worded. I don’t recall them.”
    The only thing I ever heard was that they would wait until tafter the season.

    I'm Bill McNeal August 4, 2008, 4:46 pm
  • Yes, I was assuming more than anything here. Based on how everything was going, I could not fathom a situation in which the Red Sox would NOT pick up the first option. That’s why I said, “it seemed.” From my perspective, with Manny back to a 140 OPS+, it would have been hard for the Sox to justify not picking up that option, short acquiring Teixeira or some other equivalent bat in the offseason.
    Seems that thought occurred to Manny, as well, at least based on how quickly he suddenly seemed to want an answer to the question despite the sheer logic of waiting.

    Paul SF August 4, 2008, 5:21 pm
  • “Farnsy tooketh away what the OC gaveth you yesterday in that horrific 8th”
    What, you call 9 unearned runs luck? It was nothing of the sort…
    Of course, we do get 10 games of Mark Teixeira – you know, the guy who hit the GS off Erkel in the 8th to make it a game again.

    IronHorse (yf) August 4, 2008, 5:30 pm
  • I could not fathom a situation in which the Red Sox would NOT pick up the first option
    Well, in that case, you have an even bigger piece of circumstantial evidence that Boras engineered this. Because the Sox picking up that option would have been the worst possible thing for Manny, earnings-wise. That would have put him in another contract year with no “security” (I use that term loosely, since Manny should be damn secure after $160M in earnings) past his age 37 season. Add in age/injury decline, and Manny/Boras have to be concerned about his earning power after the 2009 season, without any question, fueling speculation that Boras assisted in creating an atmosphere where Manny’s “shackles” (options) could be more easily removed: the Sox were NEVER going to do this unilaterally, even under threat from Ramirez. That’s not what Boras wanted, and the Sox wouldn’t give in on that, they’d have suspended Ramirez before they guaranteed any options at gunpoint, I am almost certain of that.
    I am on the record as a “Boras is a genius” person, I am still reasonably certain that Boras knew exactly what he was doing with the Yankees and A-Rod this offseason, and the results on that front show that to me: no competition (!), biggest contract in the history of baseball for a duration that exceeded any expectations or, possibly, necessity. I would not be surprised if Boras had whispered and explained this all to Manny, the drag on his long-term contract future that these club options posed. That’s no excusing Manny and his actions, if he was listening to Boras and acting on the whispers then he is culpable as well. He’s not a three year-old, despite what folklore might want people to believe.

    SF August 4, 2008, 5:45 pm
  • “I could not fathom a situation in which the Red Sox would NOT pick up the first option”
    I think its very easy to imagine the sox not picking up the option. I could list all of the reasons given for why trading Manny was a good idea five days ago. They’ve been trying to get rid of his contract for years, why would the pull a 180 all of a sudden this season? Im not saying its impossible they would exercise it but to me it was certainly more likely he was gonna be a free agent.

    Sam-YF August 4, 2008, 5:54 pm
  • Because at worst, they would pick up the option and then trade him. I can’t imagine they get less than two picks’ worth this way.

    Lar August 4, 2008, 8:07 pm

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