Nick Cafardo in today’s Globe says this:
So we are left with one compelling question: If the Red Sox still had Manny Ramírez, would they be working out at Fenway Park today and getting ready to host Game 1 of the World Series tomorrow?
One could reasonably conclude the answer is yes.
One could also reasonably conclude the answer is no. The Red Sox were awful-awful-awful in the two weeks leading up to the trade deadline, and terrific-terrific-terrific in the two months after. The question is how much of the rebound is attributable to the obvious relief the team felt upon the removal of Ramirez from the clubhouse.
There also seems to be a prevailing opinion that Ramirez would have shut it down had the Sox not traded him — an asertion I’ve never believed and certainly find no evidence for. During the time Ramirez was allegedly not playing as hard as he could for the Sox, he was raking the ball.
Even so, would Ramirez have gone on his epic tear in a Boston uniform, against AL pitching? I remain doubtful. Which leaves a question of exactly how well Ramirez would have performed, and whether that would have been better than the excellent, clutch production (plus star-caliber defense and solid baserunning) the Sox received from Jason Bay.
I don’t know the answer. Like Cafardo, I agree the trade needed to happen. And I think that means, deep down, we both suspect the Sox would probably be sitting home today, regardless of who was manning left field the final two months of the season.