Some are arguing the Red Sox accomplished addition by subtraction this week by trading Manny Ramirez and acquiring Jason Bay, meaning they took a step back by making the switch, but accomplished more in the long run by removing a problem player.
They’re wrong. The Red Sox have added a more accomplished player in Bay.
Those who don’t like the deal are only looking at the raw numbers:
Ramirez - .303 BA, 21 HR .936 OPS through 8-3-08.
Bay - .283 BA, 23 HR, .906 OPS.
Those are the UNADJUSTED stats. Adjust for all of the factors and you’ll see Bay is the superior hitter and player.
Factor #1 - Ball Park
Ramirez played home games in Fenway park, a hitter’s park. His stats were inflated because of where he played half of his games.
Bay played his home games in Pittsburgh, a pitcher’s park that made hitting stats worse.
Factor #2 - Pitching staffs
Ramirez didn’t have to face above-average Red Sox pitchers so his numbers were compiled against slightly below league-average pitching. That made his batting statistics better than if they were against average pitching in the league.
Bay didn’t get to face below-average Pirates pitchers so his numbers were compiled against slightly above league-average pitching. That made his batting statistics worse than if he got to face average pitching in the league.
Factor # 3 - Defense
Ramirez was often replaced late in games to allow a better defensive outfielder to play in LF. When David Ortiz was out with an injury, Ramirez moved to DH, a spot he’s more suited for.
Bay is better in the field and can stay in ball games to provide good fielding with his range and his arm.
Factor # 4 - Speed
Ramirez was slow on the base paths, and that’s when he actually tried to run. Ramirez could have gotten extra hits by running harder on misplayed ground balls he assumed would be outs. With him, they were because of his lack of effort.
Bay has always hustled in his career. He plays the game with full effort and won’t accept an out as automatic. This season he is 7 for 7 in stolen base attempts.
Factor # 5 - Age
Ramirez is 36.
Bay is 29.
Factor # 6 - Contract
Ramirez makes $20 million a year and is a free agent after this season.
Bay is signed through 2009 when he will make $7.5 million.
Factor # 7 - In the Clubhouse
No one will ever say that Jason is just being Jason - in a bad way, that is.