When the Red Sox shipped Manny Ramirez to the Dodgers and received Jason Bay from the Pirates in a three-team swap at the Trade Deadline, the Dodgers knew they were gaining an enigmatic superstar with a power bat they needed. And the Red Sox knew they were losing a future Hall of Famer but gaining one of the game's top sluggers on the rise, an All-Star in his own right.
The old standby of this being a good deal for both sides doesn't cut it in October. This has turned into a magnificent deal for both sides.
In Games 1 and 2 of the National League Division Series, Ramirez struck fear into the Cubs at Wrigley Field by hitting two homers in eight at-bats. As a result, he was intentionally walked twice in Game 3 on Saturday. The tactic wasn't enough for the Cubs, as the Dodgers won, 3-1, to secure the sweep. Ramirez singled and scored in the first inning, finishing the NLDS 5-for-10.
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Bay was off on Saturday, and he deserved a breather after a whirlwind first two games in Anaheim. Like Ramirez, Bay homered in Games 1 and 2. Like Ramirez, he's got five hits so far. Bay will get a chance to top Ramirez in first-round numbers in Sunday's Game 3 at Fenway Park. As the Dodgers swept Chicago and Boston went up 2-0 in the Division Series, it became increasingly clear just how vital that July 31 deal was to each franchise.
While the Dodgers used Ramirez's scorching-hot bat to claim the NL West, the Red Sox went 34-19 down the stretch and won the American League Wild Card. Now, as Ramirez and Bay continue to match each other hit-for-hit in this 2008 postseason, each seems to be the catalyst for each team's success.
Both brought something to their new organizations that was lacking -- Ramirez brought an incomparable bat, while Bay brought consistency in the field and at the plate.
Which side of this trade might pay off in a World Series title?
That is yet to be determined. But make no mistake about it, the Dodgers and Red Sox are in position to have such ambitions. Without that July 31 trade, that might not be the case.
Mark Remme is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.