The Dodgers Are Better Off Without Manny

Richard LeivenbergContributor IIIAugust 24, 2010

ST. LOUIS - JULY 18: Manny Ramirez #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on from the dugout against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on July 18, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Cardinals beat the Dodgers 5-4.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Bye-Bye Manny and good riddance. 

The Dodgers have to get rid of Manny.  I mean they can't get rid of the McCourts, at least not yet. 

Manny may have been good for the Dodgers for a couple of seasons...maybe one and a half.  He drove fans to the seats, dollars to the marketing department and even some baseballs out of the park.

But that lasted a very short period of time...until the steroids wore off. 

Guys like Manny make me cringe.  He is easily one of the best hitters in baseball history - ranking 17th in RBI's, 14th in Home Runs and 8th in Slugging Percentage.  His career numbers are gawdy and he has contributed to the success of the Indians, Bosox and Dodgers. 

Yet, he remains a conflicted character whose team contributions are offset by his singular behavior.  We all know how he left Boston, literally driving himself off the team by malingering.  He then emerged a new Man-ny on the Dodgers and energized a young squad to first place and the play-offs.  The desparate Dodger fans adored him but they were deluded by his dreads, his outlandish demeanor and his uncanny ability to swat the ball.

Then the black cloud of steroids and the subsequent injuries put him first off the team and on the DL.  This year he has been virtually non-existent.  His numbers, while truncated by injuries, are woeful to say the least, most notably his 8 home runs.

This last stat is the worst for a team ranked 5th lowest in home runs this season with only 90 dingers so far.  When the trade deadline hit, the Dodgers chose Scott Podsednik, Ryan Theriot and Ted Lilly...not a slugger among them.

Like a lot of teams they seem to have fallen in love with their young players - Matt Kemp, James Loney, Andre Ethier and Russell Martin.  Only Ethier can be viewed as someone who can hit for power regularly. When they had a chance to grab an Adam Dunn, they instead seemed to be waiting for the return of Manny.

Yet, how has Manny affected these hitters?  They say the line-up benefitted from having Manny's bat as pitchers pitched around him to get to the other guys. But, what message did Manny give to those young hitters?  Unlike a Bobby Abreu on the Angels who taught his fellow hitters to work the count, Manny did not bring a truly winning attitude to the team.  Matt Kemp, who is showing signs of malingering Manny-isms, sure could have used a more positive role model.

As a lifelong Dodger fan, I can say that I know true Dodgers - Robinson, Hodges, Snider, Koufax, Wills, Gilliam, Garvey, Sutton, Piazza - and Manny is no true Dodger. 

He is a product of a broken system that benefits individuals more than teams.

Hasta la vista, Manny and good luck in your next uniform.