Hanley Ramirez to LA Dodgers: Offense Now NL's Most Explosive

Kyle NewportFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MAY 21: Hanley Ramirez #2 of the Miami Marlins hits a long fly ball during a game against the Colorado Rockies at Marlins Park on May 21, 2012 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

When the Los Angeles Dodgers made a deal with the Miami Marlins for Hanley Ramirez, they became the most dangerous lineup in the National League.

At 53-45 and 2.5 games behind the San Francisco Giants in the NL West, the Dodgers needed to pull the trigger on a deal.

MLBTradeRumors.com's Ben Nicholson-Smith reports the Dodgers are inquiring about Matt Garza and Ryan Dempster (both pitchers for the Cubs). The pitching staff is one of the best in the league, so they turned their attention to upgrading their offense.

In June, this team was shut out six times in seven games. However, they were dealing with major injuries at that time. With their star players now healthy, the Dodgers looked ready to take over the division lead.

Hanley Ramirez has his struggles on defense, but he can play either shortstop or third base for a team that has not received much offense from either spot.

With Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier making up the middle of the lineup, Los Angeles became the most explosive offense in the league.

Matt Kemp was off to a great start this season and was on his way to winning the NL MVP. Hamstring issues have forced him to miss time, but he is now back in the lineup and hitting well. 

Although he was injured earlier this season as well, Ethier has been a great hitter and provides protection for Kemp. Ethier drives in runs and will benefit from having Ramirez on the team. 

Ramirez is struggling this season, but a change of scenery will help. Dodger Stadium is not an easy place to hit home runs, so he will need to revert back to form and hit for average. The former NL batting champion has the ability to get on base, and the team needs him to aim for the gaps.

His skill set allows him to be used in different parts of the lineup. If Kemp or Ethier goes down with an injury, he can step in and replace them. However, he is best suited for the No. 2 spot in the order.

The Dodgers need players to get on base in front of their stars, and Ramirez will hit better with Kemp hitting behind him. Leadoff hitter Jerry Hairston, Jr. is batting around .300 with a .367 on-base percentage. The No. 2 spot is not getting the same production, so look for the newest Dodger to contribute there.

James Loney is starting to heat up, and he provides even more depth in the lineup. With Ramirez, Kemp, Ethier and Loney, opposing pitchers will need to be careful when facing the middle lineup.

Ramirez is currently battling a hand injury, but he will adjust to hitting in Los Angeles. Give him time to settle in to his new home, and the Dodgers will be playing baseball in October.

When healthy, the Dodgers will run out the most dangerous lineup in the National League.