Saturday, November 21, 2009

Something for nothing

The Red Sox recently claimed Robert Manuel off of waivers from the Seattle Mariners. The Mariners had to expose Manuel to waivers - it isn't clear whether they were moving him off of their 40 man roster, or if he was out of options, and therefore couldn't be moved from the major leagues to the minor leagues without the other teams in baseball having a crack at him.

Don't get me wrong, Manuel isn't anything special. He's a 26 year old relief prospect who I've never heard of before. He's posted excellent strikeout and walk numbers in the minor leagues (339:66 career), including a 49:16 strikeout to walk ratio in AAA this year. Generally speaking, 2:1 is all right and 3:1 is really good: Papelbon, for example had about a 3:1 ratio this year in a poor year control-wise for him. In 2008 he had a K:BB ratio of better than 9:1. Strikeout to walk ratio doesn't tell you the whole story (for an excellent example, take a look at Dave Bush's numbers sometime), but Manuel also doesn't give up a ton of hits or homeruns.

At worst, I think the Red Sox just found a 6th or 7th inning guy for free. This could give them the flexibility to deal someone like Manny Delcarmen for an improvement elsewhere. By itself, a move like this won't win a championship, snagging a useful player when the opportunity presents itself is the hallmark of a well run organization. I'm not saying that Manuel is a better baseball player than Jeremy Hermida, but I wouldn't be shocked if Manuel contributes more to the 2010 Red Sox than Hermida.

Note: I just read Peter Gammons' chat on ESPN and he mentions a potential Manny Delcarmen for Cody Ross trade, as Ross is a right handed hitting CF/RF. Ross would be a nice addition as he would give the Sox versatility in the outfield and he destroyed lefties last year.

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