ESPN Radio’s Eric Kuselias was agog over the Manny Ramirez trade rumors this afternoon, insisting, over and over again, “there has to be more to this,” as though there’s some incredible secret about Manny’s disruptive behavior the Red Sox have covered up to maintain his trade value.

Boston Sports Media’s Bruce Allen claims WEEI’s Glenn Orway went down a similar path Monday (“He said all the fans and websites out there who have been blaming the media for Manny bashing will then be amazed at the ‘hair raising’, ‘off the chart’ stories that will come out after he is traded. (Sounds like the leaking has already begun.)” but also highlights some sage words from Touching All The Bases’ Chad Finn.

It’s not like I don’t understand why the Sox would consider shopping him. He’s going to be 35 next season; the decline has to begin sometime, and his aching knees may already be a harbinger. And if you believe the whispers – certain to be a full-fledged smear campaign once the deal is consummated – the home clubhouse may not be such a welcoming place for him anymore.

of all the rumors floating around out there right now, not one of them strikes me as particularly beneficial to the 2007 Red Sox. Scot Shields and a prospect from the Angels? Throw in Brandon Wood and Howie Kendrick and we’ll talk. James Loney and Matt Kemp from the Dodgers? Intriguing, especially if Theo’s goal is to bolster the Pawtucket roster for the summer. Scott Linebrink from the Padres? C’mon, Theo, don’t get pantsed by Kevin Towers again.

There’s one question that every Red Sox fan should be pondering right now: How in the hell does trading Manny make the Red Sox better?

Will they get an equal talent in return? Highly unlikely, unless Albert Pujols should suddenly get caught looting Tony La Russa’s office or Texas foolishly parts with Mark Teixeira after a down year.

I’d feel better about this if only they were doing it for baseball reasons. Instead, they seem intent on trading a diamond for three cubic zirconiums, just to rid themselves of the Manny Melodrama. Heck, noted baseball historian Hazel Mae attempted to sum up that mind-set tonight on NESN: “Getting rid of Manny might not be as great as it sounds,” she bleated. I don’t even know what the hell that means. It’s like she was channeling McCarver.

Even with the headaches and midsummer vacations, he’s been worth every single Benjamin of his $160 million contract. You want reliable? Despite missing 42 games with a busted finger in 2001, he’s averaged 142 games per season with Sox, a number his supposed successor in the cleanup spot, the infamously indifferent J.D. Drew, has surpassed twice in his nine-year career.