How Hanley Ramirez to the LA Dodgers Shakes Up NL West

Connor MuldowneyCorrespondent IJuly 26, 2012

How Hanley Ramirez to the LA Dodgers Shakes Up NL West

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    Right now the National League West seems like a two-team race with Arizona on the outside looking in at third place.

    The Los Angeles Dodgers were in first place for a majority of the season even with an injured Matt Kemp, but the San Francisco Giants have been hot as of late.

    Also, the Dodgers' offense has been struggling ever since Kemp went down with the injury and hasn't quite been the same since he's come back. Adding Hanley Ramirez, a guy with speed to burn and power, improves their lineup tremendously.

    He makes the Dodgers' almost a lock for the postseason, whether it be division champs or one of the two wild card spots.

He's Finally Playing for a Contender

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    Hanley Ramirez went from a team that is 45-53 and in fourth place in the NL East to a team that is 53-46 in second place in the NL West.

    There is no doubt that playing for a team that has a chance to win the division will give Ramirez extra motivation to play to his full potential day after day. Playing for a team that's barely ahead of the last place team can negatively weigh on a player's confidence.

    Look for Ramirez to have a resurgence in his play for the rest of the season, giving the Dodgers a huge boost in the middle of their lineup.

Gives Them a Much-Needed Infield Bat

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    Let's face it, the Dodgers' infielders have not contributed to the offense as much as they should.

    James Loney is having the slowest year of his career so far. Luis Cruz is new to the team, but still batting under .250 in 19 games. Juan Uribe has struggled mightily at third base. Mark Ellis has played an average second base, nothing special there, but A.J. Ellis has played above average at catcher, giving them a minor boost in the infield.

    No one on the entire Dodgers' team is hitting above .300 and that is an area for concern. The infield has struggled and that is why Hanley is there to bring them above water. Ramirez has never hit below .292 for an entire season, he's in danger of that this year unless he hits the cover off the ball the rest of the way.

    He is a guy that can hit 20-30 home runs, knock in 70 RBI and steal 30 bases a season. If he can stick around in LA for a while, this team will have a scary lineup with Ethier, Kemp and also Loney batting around him.

Shows the Division That They Are Serious

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    This move was a blockbuster trade, the first big move made in the National League before the deadline.

    This should be a wake-up call to San Francisco and any other team contending for the wild card spots in the NL that the Dodgers are serious about winning—and winning now.

    Ramirez was supposed to be the guy for the Marlins that was going to help lead them to the playoffs and he is one of the reasons why Jose Reyes wanted to go to Miami in the offseason. This trade was a shock to Marlins fans and many people around the league because the Reyes signing in the offseason seems to be all for nothing now.

    Making a huge move like this in the middle of a divisional race makes the whole league take notice, the Dodgers aren't playing around. Ramirez will help the offense tremendously and will give the infield some much-needed help as well.

    Look out for the Dodgers in the second half and even before the trade deadline because they may not be done dealing.