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Buck's So Vain, He Probably Thinks This Page is About Him.

12.08.02 WBZ-TV 4's Sports Final:  Gordon Edes (GE) and Steve Buckley (SB) on with Bob Lobel (BL):

Lobel:  Gentlemen let's talk about Manny Ramirez, he's wanted to leave this town the minute he got here, isn't that true?

Buckley:  It depends who you talk to... well let's put it this way, Peter Gammons wrote a piece on ESPN.com a year ago saying that Manny wanted to leave Boston, Manny turned around and said "no, I'm very happy here," then the season ended and Jeff Moorad had to have a series with meetings with the Red Sox to discuss what will keep Manny here. It just seemed 'he's here, he's not here, he's here, he's not here'... same thing came this time around. When I was told that Manny was going to visit John Henry to have a meeting, and I called the Red Sox and they said they did have a meeting and it was at John Henry's house, and it was at a restaurant, there seemed to be different stories on that. And I find it very interesting that the Red Sox won't talk about why this meeting took place.

Edes:  But you quoted a baseball source Buck as saying that one of the things that took place at the meeting was that Manny asked for a trade, are you sticking with that?

Buckley:  Oh absolutely. (GE: Ok) And I know you got Moorad, and Manny will probably come but come in spring training, if he hasn't already, and say "oh no, that's completely inaccurate, I want to stay here." But again Peter Gammons had the piece a year ago on ESPN.com saying that Manny didn't want to be here and he turned around and Manny said he wanted to stay here. So it's the old 'Rickey being Rickey'/'Manny being Manny' argument.

Edes:  Your point about Manny not wanting to be here from day one obviously we could tell Bob from his very first spring training that he had reservations and second thoughts...

Lobel:  Well yeah but I'm kind of joking in a way because I don't Manny wants to be anywhere... you know what, he doesn't want to be anywhere that he is... he3 always to be somewhere else...

Buckley:  Yeah but I think he'll look back, I think Manny's going to the Hall of Fame, so the Fred Lynn argument (Lobel: 'what is somebody going to drive him?'... it's like Parcells says, 'don't put him in Canton yet') I think Manny probably should have stayed in Cleveland, I don't know what the economic picture would have been but, he was clearly happier there than he is here.

Edes:  Bob, clearly this past season ended with Manny having some issues, after the incident in Tampa where he did the U-turn and went back to the dugout...

Lobel:  So this is two seasons now where he's ended with issues.

Edes:  Yeah, well there's no question, and actually Steve it didn't even wait until the end of the first season, Moorad came out during the season and said there were a number of issues involved in Manny's comfort level and all that, I think it was important to get Jeff Moorad on the record... he was absolutely dismissive of the notion that Manny had gone in and asked for a trade and (Buckley: 'well what do you think Jeff Moorad would say?) well there is a certain bewilderment at the notion that Manny who tends to have his surrogates do everything for him, including personal relationships, if he really wanted to go to Red Sox management and ask for a trade, the normal course of action would be to have your agent fight your battles for you, now it's clear everyone says...

Buckley (interrupting again): Whoa, whoa, whoa, let's work with your premise that that's the case, so what happens then if you are with ownership, and your agent isn't there, the meeting becomes an unstructured meeting from what you're accustomed to and then you might say exactly what's on your mind, and I go back to what I've said before, I don't think Manny's ever been comfortable in Boston, and I think put in an environment without his handlers, without his agent, without Jeff Moorad to say... to make his little late night phone calls, I think Manny said exactly what was on his mind, without the choreography, and then that's what happens.

Edes:  When all the controversy was swirling around Manny in September, after the incident in Tampa, the Red Sox officials went and talked to him and sternly admonished him that 'this can't happen again!' Manny's response... put his arm around the executive (read: Lucchino) and says ''Don't worry, it'll be OK' you know... knowing Manny as little as we know him, because I don't think anybody really knows Manny that well. Do I think it's possible that Manny could have said to John Henry something about wanting to be traded, or if things continued down a path, I might want out of here? Sure, I suppose it conceivable (Lobel: I don't think anybody would be surprised) No, there's no reason to be surprised at that given how he shut himself down at the end of last season, refused to talk to anybody.

Lobel: The enigma part is he's such a great, great hitter, if it were anything less, he would be gone, except for the salary. He's such a great hitter, but he gets paid way too much money.

Buckley: Yes, and I'm glad you say 'great hitter' as opposed to 'great slugger' because Manny is a hitter. You can take away the batting average... (Lobel: He's also being paid way too much money) Of course he is, he's the mistake the previous regime made.

Lobel:  And this is the one thing I asked Bill James, what was the bigger mistake by the previous regime, signing Jose Offerman for $26 million or signing Manny Ramirez... he avoided the question, he said 'I liked Jose Offerman... he just went in the tank here.'

Buckley:  My problem with that argument is that Offerman never really put up the numbers with the Red Sox. Manny Ramirez whether you like him or don't like him... by the way, most people involved with the Red Sox, be they media, fans, anybody who comes into contact with Manny personally... we all like Manny, he's a pleasant enough guy, it's not like he's throwing things around the clubhouse and saying 'get out of my face' and so forth. As a person, he's an amiable fellow, but he has put up the numbers.

Edes: And that's why I would be careful about going too far down the path of talking about what a terrible mistake this contract is...

Buckley: Well it was a mistake Gordon, (Edes: well hold on) the amount of money it is was a mistake.

Edes: Well again, when Elias Sports Bureau, when they came out with their statistical rankings, Manny's the first player in seven years to come out with a perfect score. He wins the batting title, he puts up power numbers that would be great for a full season. This is a guy that missed 38 games. This notion that his contract is an impossible contract to move? I think that notion went out the window when the Rockies were able to move Mike Hampton...

Lobel:  So you're telling me there is hope that the Sox might be able to get out from underneath this contract... if they want to?

Buckley:  'Hope' would be if they were actively trying to move him. And I don't think they are trying to move him.... (BL: and you wouldn't that to happen?). No, I'm not lobbying to get Manny Ramirez out of town (BL: you've already done that with Nomar :-). Manny's one of the great hitters in baseball, there's definitely a place for him on this team, the Red Sox are not actively shopping Manny, but Theo will listen to offers, he's made that known, he'll listen to offers to any ballplayer on his team, including Nomar by the way. 

Lobel: Would you trade Nomar for Vladimir Guerrero?

Edes:  I think I would have to think long and hard about it (BL: In a New York second... you would too right? Buck: You've got a better chance of keeping Guerrero...) I would definitely think about it, but I also, in terms of Manny, John Henry came out today and said 'we're not trading Manny Ramirez.' Would you take that at face value?

Buckley: Yes, but you know what, in Willie's attempt to try to put down my story, Willie misses the point, I never wrote that the Red Sox were shopping Manny Ramirez (BL: Willie being Willie McDonough)... Willie should read the story that I wrote and what I wrote was that Manny went to John Henry and asked to be traded.

Edes:  I don't think Will was inspired to put down your story Steve, when you throw out something that significant, that Manny Ramirez has asked to be traded, obviously we're going to react to that. I think it's responsible reporting to go to the agent and ask him 'hey look, is this true, does your player want to be traded?'... the agent was completely dismissive, but as Steve said, Jeff Moorad may have his agenda too, I've know him for quite a while, might have think he would have hinted the possibility might be true, but he put out that fire in a big time hurry. Now John Henry refused to address whether Manny had asked for a trade, but he did come out and say 'we are not trading him.'

Buckley: What I find interesting is that JH could have easily said that 'no, that never came up at the meeting and moved on.' (Edes: But they've also made a pledge)... you know what, throw that pledge right out the window. Given the seriousness of the discussion, which everyone is talking about these last couple of days, they could have easily said 'no, that never came up' and they said 'no, we don't want to talk about it.'

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