According to the NY Post, talks between the Phillies and Red Sox are heating up.
Beerleaguer take: A straight-up deal involving Bobby Abreu and Manny Ramirez does not get the Phillies any closer to the prize.
Pat Gillick should be in the market for a frontline starter, not offense, so if the team is serious about Manny, it must be with the intention of trading him for pitching.
In addition, how many times have we read that officials from around the league consider the Phillies the least self-motivated bunch in baseball? How does Manny help the Phillies in that regard? Who does Manny play for?
Picking one over the other, ballplayer for ballplayer, I'd rather have Manny than Abreu, but the financial and spiritual cost are just too high.
On paper, the Phils have had a playoff-caliber offense for three years. Lack of motivation cannot be unrelated to their failures. The bats are good enough, but pitching, and drive, needs an overhaul. While Manny will be long on the longball, he will sell the Phils short on self-motivation.
The Phillies have improved three departments with the addition of Aaron Rowand, right-handed pop, defense and heart. They've got dough in their pockets by trading Jim Thome and letting Billy Wagner choke on his $43 million. Do not take a step back by adding, and keeping, Manny.
Update: This morning, Jayson Stark of ESPN wrote that this deal is "highly unlikely."
The primary reason is that the Phillies have been telling teams they are only interested in trading Abreu for top-of-the-rotation starting pitching. The second is that there is a major money imbalance. Ramirez has $57 million coming over the next three years. Abreu has two years, $30 million left on his deal. Both players can veto any trades.
The only way this trade could happen, then, is if the Red Sox were interested in trading a starting pitcher along with Ramirez, AND evening out all the money.