As my hopes for decent GM in Philly were being dashed and my disenchantment for Pat Gillick grew at the end of last week, a rumor was circulating that the Phils were shipping Bobby Abreu to the Red Sox for Manny Ramirez.
The enlightened fans in Philly responded in kind. Of course, they supported the man who has been the best player in town since probably Mike Schmidt, right? I mean, it is an intriguing deal, two of the better players in the game still in t heir prime each with a hefty price tag attached. It makes for nice reading during Hot Stove time, but we've got to support our guys, right?
Ah, no. They reacted as if the Abreu was the T.O. of the Philly baseball nine (by the way, has anyone notice that the 1-2 since they cut Owens and our losing to the Seahawks 35-0 at the half as one can literally see them passing the mantle of NFC champ to other puky green team).
Witness this bit of drivel in the free rag called the Metro, whose international syndication makes USA Today's McPaper seem downright provincial. They know the right buttons to get the local yokels all frothy:
Rumor has it that the Boston Red Sox have discussed a trade with the Phillies involving Manny Ramirez and Bobby Abreu. What are the Red Sox thinking?
5) We have no GM so what the heck? Let's ruin the team to spite Theo Epstein.
4) At $13 million a year Abreu is a bargain compared to Manny's $20 million per.
3) Abreu's demeanor can help replace the "idiots" label Boston adopted during their World Series run in 2004. Now the team can just be labeled as lazy. It's better than idiots.
2) Maybe Abreu won't even be afraid of the Fenway wall in right field since it's only about two-feet high.
1) Abreu is a (insert laugh) Gold Glove winner.
I include the estimable Mr. Ranaan's email in case you want to drop him a little love-gram. This appeared in the December 4 edition of the Metro, right next to an item on the Phils signing 34-year-old Sal Fasano to back up Mike Lieberthal, who'll be 34 this summer. I guess at least he's five years younger than the old backup, Todd Pratt. It would be nice to actually have someone back up our aging catcher who'll still be in the game the next time they replace their GM.
Fasano is the second free agent they have signed who had been out of the majors for the previous two seasons, reliever Julio Santana being the other. Indeed Gillick is doing his darnedest to lock up as much replacement-level talent as he can even before the first snowfall of the offseason. Fasano had 11 homers and a 111 OPS+ in 2005 but should one trust his 160 at-bats this past year or his previous seven years and 669 at-bats of pure suckage? Santana did have 49 Ks in 42 innings, but his 4.50 was 6% worse than the park-adjusted league average. Abraham O. Nunez, the apparent heir apparent at third as David Bell slowly dissolves into oblivion (or Kansas City, whichever is worse) in the final year of his ill-conceived contract, had a career year this past season and still had an OPS that was 16% worse than the park-adjusted league-average. Wherefore art thou, Charlie Hayes?
These are the types of players you invite to camp as an afterthought, as a contingency plan, as a non-roster invitee, as a celebrity photo-op (if they were once Magnum P.I. or a chubby country singer). They are not the ones that you sign a month after the World Series right at the start of a new GM's term.
And yet that is the direction in which the Phils are headed, while the press fulminates over Abreu's Gold Glove award. It's a wonderful thing being a sportsfan in a second-class (or is it fifth-class?0 sports city. And Abreu remains on the trading block
Anyway, if the Abreu-Ramirez trade had gone through, I believe it would have been the biggest two-man trade of all time. Abreu has 230 career Win Shares and Ramirez, 310. There has been only one other trade involving a 300-Win Share player and a 200-Win Share player. That was:
December 13, 1907: New York Giants trade Bill Dahlen with Frank Bowerman, George Browne, George Ferguson, and Dan McGann to the Boston Doves for Fred Tenney, Al Bridwell, and Tom Needham.
Dahlen had 372 WS at the time and Tenney had 214. Here are the only trades involving two 200-WS players: