Manny Ramirez Wouldn't Ruin the Dodgers' Season, Would He?

Matt KayContributor IJune 30, 2009

LAKE ELSINORE, CA - JUNE 27:  Manny Ramirez #99 of the Inland Empire 66ers hits a  lead off home run in the first inning against the Lake Elsinore Storm on June 27, 2009 at the Lake Elsinore Diamond in Lake Elsinore, California. Ramirez is preparing for hsi return to the Los Angeles Dodgers after a 50 game suspension.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Manny Ramirez's 50-game MLB vacation is just about over—and from the looks of his minor league at-bats, it doesn't appear that he has worked too hard during his holiday break in La La Land.

During his minor league assignment, Manny hit a mediocre 3-for-10, striking out five times against Class-A pitching. Sure doesn't sound like the form of an overpaid, high-profile slugger, does it?

"He's probably going to be a little bit rusty," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told reporters Monday. "It will take him a little while."

Rusty? Couldn't a man who should make $45 million over the next two years of his contract find a way to avoid becoming a tin man?

And just how long is Manny going to be rusty?

Well, I'll go out on a limb here and say long enough for the Dodgers to lose their commanding seven-game lead over San Francisco.

Manny has not played in nearly two months, and it's going to show when he struggles on both sides of the ball while getting back to his proper conditioning. Somehow, some way, Manny is going to screw up the Dodgers' chemistry. They were able to play fine without him, and maybe, after all, they don't even need him.

Los Angeles isn't going to magically win every game the rest of the season just because Manny is coming back.

Something is going to go wrong.

The Dodgers have never won the NL West title two years in a row, and I'm expecting Manny to be the catalyst to their demise this year.

Face it. It's not difficult to imagine the Giants stealing the division from the Dodgers, considering the way Tim Lincecum has been pitching—hitting and fielding, too.

San Francisco has won five of the last six times Randy Johnson has been on the mound, and Matt Cain holds a magnificent 9-2 record.

With the trading deadline coming up, it will only be matter of time before the Giants look for long ball hitters to spice up their offense. I'm not sure who's on their short list, but I'll guarantee it's not anybody who, just like Manny, is going to be rusty.