Polishing off our first division will be the 2009 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Every baseball fan knows how last season went. The Dodgers were average until July 31.
Over the last two months of the season, the team was still just 30-24, but it was plainly obvious that the addition of Manny Ramirez made the team much more of a threat.
Manny finished fourth in the National League MVP race after playing for the team for just two months. Can you name the last player to win the award (NL or AL) after being traded during the season?
The Dodgers vastly improved their defense with the addition of Orlando Hudson. Plus the team’s overall makeup is full of players most other teams would die for (Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp, Chad Billingsley, Jonathan Broxton). The mixture of very talented youngsters with strong veteran presence is something you can’t look past.
As of this instant, Manny is not a Dodger for 2009. If there’s no Manny, Juan Pierre becomes the likely full-time third outfielder for better or for worse. Behind the teams’ best three pitchers, is a logjam of pitchers recovering from injuries (Jason Schmidt, Shawn Estes) and other unknown variables.
It’s never happened. The next player to do it will be the first! There were several MVPs who won in their first season with a team, but none has been traded during the season and won the award.
Even without Manny, this team is the class of the NL West. The top of their rotation is the real deal and the “gamer” attitude seen throughout much of the position players is enough to carry the Dodgers to another divisional title with or without Manny.
I believe Manny Ramirez will be a Dodger again in 2009. But since he’s not on the roster….yet, I’m rating the team without him.
1st Place, NL West, 88-74.
So apparently Manny Ramirez has decided the terms of the Dodgers latest contract offer isn’t good enough.
If I’m Ned Coletti or any other GM/Owner in baseball or even a casual fan, I have to read that statement this way.
“I, Manny Ramirez, do not want to play baseball!”
I was a Manny defender for a long time, right up until he pushed the Sox travelling secretary. But this decision on Manny’s part is ridiculous.If earning $20MM when he’s 39 (in 2010) isn’t enough change for this chump, then the Dodgers aren’t going to be able to meet his demands. It’s as simple as that.
As for the Dodgers, the best thing they can do right now is to give Manny an ultimatum, similar to the Packers and Brett Favre after the 2007 season. The Dodgers should keep that offer on the table but put a final “drop-dead” date for Manny before they move on without him.
And that date can’t be too far out. March begins on Sunday and this team as do all the others in baseball, need to focus on the 162 games that begin in a little more than a month. We all know Manny isn’t focused on those 162 games yet. And while we know he could get himself ready, it’s obvious he doesn’t want to.
Manny knows nobody else is going to offer $45MM over two seasons and likely won’t get a four year deal from anyone else either, which leads to the only possible explanation, he doesn’t want to play baseball. It’s evident in the way he performs, he’s like the kid in 3rd grade who’s tested out at 8th grade math, but still has to learn basic arithmetic. He’s so talented that he gets bored with the game itself, much like the third grader. So to make things more interesting, Manny demands too much money, enough to make it interesting for himself, but leaving himself room to say it’s not enough so I’m not going to play.
As for the Dodgers, would it really be that bad if Manny doesn’t sign? Probably not. They’ve already improved their team, especially up the middle with a healthy Rafael Furcal and the addition of Orlando Hudson. Sure they missed out on all the other outfielders on the market, but really did they need one with Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and Juan Pierre, they have enough to compete, especially in this division.
It’s time for the Dodgers to excuse themselves from the table. If Manny really doesn’t want to play, the Dodgers need to call him on it, see if he’s bluffing. If not, they get one of the all-time greats, if he is ready to quit, then the Dodgers can return to being a normal Major League Baseball Club.
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