As the deadline fast approaches for teams to make their non-waiver trades, it can be difficult to resist chasing every rumor. Sometimes, no matter how much sense a trade makes, nothing happens. Players can be linked to team after team yet never find themselves changing uniforms. One of those guys: Manny Ramirez.
While Mannywood is in the past and Ramirez himself on a redemption tour with the Chicago Cubs, teaching their young players how to hit, ita��s funny to think back to another the times when Manny was a trade target but didna��t get moved.
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) January 29, 2014
Danny: Ita��s never been tried.
Reuben: Ho, ho a�� a�?Ita��s never been tried.a�? Ita��s been tried. A few guys even came close. You know the three more successful robberies in the history of Vegas?
Reuben: Number three, the Bronze Medala��pencil-neck grabs a lockbox at the Horseshoe a��
The trade that the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers made in the February 2004 has been all A-Rod all the time for more than a decade, but when the idea was first floated it was a trade of two superstars, not just one: Rodriguez for Ramirez. Other teams were eager to get in on the action just to be a part of ita��but mostly to acquire the excess talent that would be freed up when those two large contracts (and personalities) changed teams. The Dodgers and White Sox both could have played a role in the game of musical chairs that was coming together. Nomar Garciaparra and Magglio Ordonez could have ended up in new homesa��but not through a straight swapa��as the Red Sox wouldna��t have needed the former with A-Rod in the fold but would have needed a replacement in the outfield for Manny.
Reuben: He got two steps closer to the door than any living soul before him.
For a while, this deal was almost done. The sticking point was Rodrigueza��s massive contract. The Red Sox were looking a�?for some salary to be reduced and some to be deferred in exchange for giving Rodriguez the right to become a free agent earlier in the deal.a�? But the playersa�� union saw otherwise and shut it down. 99.9 percent was still a good effort.
Reuben: Second most successful robbery a��
On July 31, 2005 the Red Sox posted a lineup with two interesting changes: Manny was absent and Jonathan Papelbon was making his major league debut as a starting pitcher. The Red Sox were playing the Minnesota Twins, just as they had on the previous July 31 when Nomar went to the Cubs and Orlando Cabrera, Doug Mientkiewicz, and Dave Roberts joined the the Sox. With the mirror match, trade rumors were flying.
Reuben: The Flamingo in a��71. This guy actually tasted fresh oxygen before they grabbed him.
However, once more, it was not to be. The defending World Series champs had closed in on a deal with the then-Devil Rays and New York Mets. It wouldna��t be easy dealing with the Rays, Tampa was striking a hard bargain: Ramirez and prospects Hanley Ramirez and Jon Lester. The Mets, the last of this three-headed horse would part with Mike Cameron and their own top prospect, Lastings Milledge.
This was, after all a�?[t]he only Red Sox team in history that has ever had two middle-of-the-order monsters (Manny and David Ortiz) who each reached 20 homers before the All-Star break two years in a row.a�? Once more, Manny remained in Boston. Was he temperamental? Sure. Talented? You bet. Could ownership and management find a way to work with him? When considering the price to ship him to another city: definitely.
Reuben: And the *closest* any man has ever come to robbing a Las Vegas casino a��
There was one constant the Red Sox had in mind each time they explored a Manny trade: high upside. A-Rod was already a superstar. Lastings Milledge was a top prospect with potential to grow, although he never amounted to much. Despite some budget constraints when looking at A-Rod (who wanted to help break the curse), Boston wasna��t interested in a salary dump. They wanted to replace Manny with someone who could become, if not Manny, something close.
Enter Brandon Wood. A shortstop prospect for the Los Angeles Angels, Wood was coming off a season in 2005 that saw him, in high Single-A (aside from a five-game stint in Triple-A), hit .321/.381/.667 with 43 home runs. The next season he would take Double-A by storm compiling a .276/.355/.552 line with another 25 homers and he decided to swipe 19 bags too. Wood was a superstar in the making. He was Trout or Harper or Machado. The A?ber prospect every team drooled about.
Reuben: Was outside of Caesara��s in a��87. He came, he grabbed a��
And there was a chance he could be swapped for Manny Ramirez. Heck, he was rumored to be the return in potential deals for Alfonso Soriano, Miguel Tejada, and Mark Teixeira. The Angels wanted Wood to be their Tim Salmon before they knew Mike Trout was even a thing. Wood was the No. 3 prospect in baseball according to Baseball America entering the 2006 season. He could fetch any player via trade but he could also play for the minimum and come with six years of control. In the end, thata��s what the Angels decided to do. Manny and Vladimir Guerrero didna��t team up in the AL West.
In 2014, at the age of 29, Wood played for the independent Sugar Land Skeeters. In 25 games he hit .098/.156/.159.
Reuben: They conquered.