If I read one more comment on the internet asking why the Sox aren't offering a contract to this clown, I'm going to freak out. Seriously, it's not like there's a huge buzz for his services even among teams that he didn't quit on in the middle of a pennant race.
I mean, are Red Sox fans so quick to forget that? Is it suddenly OK, in the wake of losing out on Teixeira, to throw common sense to the wind and re-sign the team's biggest and most expensive[albeit productive - when it suited him] headache in recent memory? Are Sox fans willing to overlook the fact that he was such a problem in the clubhouse that Francona, a manager famous for backing up his players, couldn't wait to get rid of a man who has accumulated over 1700 RBIs in his prodigious career? Obviously, Manny was a pain beyond what we as fans saw: the conveniently timed phantom "injuries," the shoving of an elderly team employee, the three-pitch strikeout at Yankee Stadium when the bat never even left his shoulder, etc.
It is absolutely true that Manny Ramirez is an exceptionally talented ballplayer: he is a lock for the Hall of Fame, is arguably the best right-handed hitter of his time, and even showed the world that he is capable of impressive speed on the base paths (once he escaped from big, bad, Boston). But for all the talk of a player's "intangibles" as part of his worth for a team (see "Varitek, Jason"), where is the acknowledgement of negative intangibles? Because as fun as Manny can be to watch - like when he makes a jumping, high-fiving, double play, for instance - it can often be downright infuriating to watch Manny being Manny and realize that the ticket you purchased (for entirely too much money) is helping to pay the obscenely large salary of a clown who literally rolls around left field like a tee baller with ADHD.
Don't get me wrong, I realize Manny was an instrumental part of the World Championships the Sox have won in the last five years, and for that I am eternally grateful. But Theo has a well-earned reputation for making deals that are good for the team, and for letting aging players walk before they fall apart. It astounds me that there are fans out there who are so panicked about the lack of a true power bat in the (tentative) 2009 lineup that they are willing to overlook the emotional turbulence that Manny subjected us (not to mention people actually employed by the Red Sox) to in his seven and a half seasons here. In Theo We Trust: I believe he has something up his sleeve, and even if he doesn't now, he'll figure it out soon enough.
Just in case I left you with any doubt, MANNY IS NOT COMING BACK, and nor should he. I prefer to remember him when he was a positive member of the team: 2004 World Series MVP, the walk-off HR during the 2007 playoffs, hitting #500 in Baltimore. Manny is a great player, and he'll probably continue to be - we can just hope that his greatness resides in the National League.