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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dodgers Finally Have a Real Superstar

So a few days ago it was a great day to be an Angels fan (and it’s still a great time to be one too, with plenty of room left on the bandwagon), but of course now it has become a great time to be a Dodgers fan as well. Despite tossing away $100 million on the likes of Jason Schmidt, Andruw Jones, and Juan Pierre, Ned Colletti made all the pain and suffering go away with one swift, deadline-beating blockbuster on Thursday. Colletti pulled off the ultimate coup, getting Manny Ramirez from the Red Sox. If you really examine things, he has acquired Casey Blake and Manny Ramirez for the bargain price of Jon Meloan, Carlos Santana, Andy LaRoche, and Bryan Morris — all without spending any cash — much to the delight of Mr. McCourt. Even though I was completely on board with both the Schmitty and Andruw signings which turned out to be busts, I agree with Simers who says this is finally a fullproof deal. That just means something bad is bound to happen.

Putting pessimism aside, the Dodgers finally have a legitimate superstar on their team — something they’ve lacked for a very long time. The Angels got one when they signed Vladimir Guerrero — a player who was in his prime and a legitimate MVP-candidate. Manny might not be a regular season MVP candidate anymore, but he still is one of the most entertaining players in the league, not to mention best clutch hitters. With Manny, the Dodgers finally have a legit superstar on the team for the first time in years and that’s enough to make the trade work. I’ll tell you this much — and this is probably all that McCourt really cares about — the first thing I thought of when I heard the Dodgers got Manny was “Man, I need to get to the stadium to see Manny play!” And that’s exactly it — Manny puts asses in seats. People don’t go to the ballpark to watch Juan Pierre drag bunt his way on, Russell Martin throw a runner out, or even to see Matt Kemp hit a home run. They go to watch Manny be Manny, and that includes tripping over a ball in left field turning a single into a triple, not running out a grounder to short, and of course, getting that monster clutch hit. With Manny, you have to take him as the complete package and embrace the great with all the bad.

OK, so now you know I’m definitely on board with this trade and it’s pretty impossible for anyone not to be, but I do feel that the other teams involved also got some good value in exchange and that the Dodgers are in some long-term danger. The Red Sox expunged the problem they wanted off their hands and filled the spot with excellent production in Jason Bay. They gave up Manny to do it, not to mention Hansen and Moss, but long term this deal makes a lot of sense for Boston. Yes, they’ll miss Manny in October and all those times he gets clutch hits, but they won’t miss all his trade demands, poor attitude, and lack of hustle. And they are getting Jason Bay back who is an All-Star and who is a 30 home run hitter, though nowhere near as feared as Manny. Pittsburgh will probably have Hansen close for them before long with all the injuries they’ve had, and Moss and LaRoche will step right in and become their every day starters. This is great for LaRoche who — let’s face it — was never going to get a real shot at succeeding with the Dodgers.

Anyway, as far as the Dodgers go, they still have serious holes in the middle infield especially when Kent sits (who already is horrible in the field), but they have significantly upgraded their offensive production by adding Manny and Blake. They still need a shortstop desperately, and they’ve also created a major logjam in the outfield. They really need to just say screw contracts and play Manny in left, Kemp in center, and Ethier in right if they want their best team on the field every day. That’s how it’s gotta be. While Manny and Blake really give them a good chance to compete with Arizona this year, I still see the Dodgers as an inferior team to the Cubs, Brewers, and Diamondbacks. I think they’re on par with the Mets and Phillies (we already know the Marlins own the Dodgers, so I’ll leave them out). In the end, this is a morale-lifting move and something the town and fans can rally around. Let’s be honest, who wouldn’t get jacked up about having Manny for a few months? For a few years? That could be a problem. A few months? Can’t beat it.

Nicely done, Colletti, you shall live to see another day. Now if you can just figure out how to solve the problem you’ll have next year with Jones and Pierre making over $25 million combined, and no middle infield to speak of, then you’ll be a master. And I don’t mean by throwing $125 million at Orlando Hudson and Orlando Cabrera who will be free agents, because I know what you’re thinking. We’ll take the off-season when it comes, but for now, just celebrate that Manny will now be Manny in Los Angeles.

By the way, here’s a great timeline of events for Manny while he was with Boston as well as a video of him leaving Fenway Park for the final time. Both are excellent.



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