Manny Ramirez Not the Same without Steroids

Andrew GodfreyCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2009

LOS ANGELES, CA - AUGUST 18: Manny Ramirez #99  of the Los Angeles Dodgers  runs to second plate aginst the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium on August 18, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Jacob de Golish/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are probably having second thoughts about signing Manny Ramirez to a $25 million contract last winter.

His presence on the roster has not had the effect it did in 2008. The Dodgers didn’t lose any ground while he was suspended 50 games for a steroids violation, but they have lost ground after his return.

When he played his last game on May 6 before serving his 50-game suspension, the Dodgers were six-and-a-half games ahead of the San Francisco Giants in the NL West.

Then he returned on July 3 from the suspension, and the Dodgers were seven-and-a-half games ahead of the Giants. However, a month earlier, in the midst of the suspension, the Dodgers were nine-and-a-half games ahead of the Giants.

Today, the Dodgers hold a slim three-and-a-half game lead over the Colorado Rockies, despite Manny having returned to the team 48 days ago.

Manny was hitting .372, had an OBP of .500, and a .654 slugging percentage at the end of April.

Now, almost four months later, he is hitting .305 (as of today). He has an OBP of .425 and is slugging .559.

Most players would be happy with these numbers, but for a superstar who is one of the highest paid players in baseball, these numbers are not even close to the numbers that we have come to expect.

Last season, in 187 at-bats with the Dodgers, he hit 17 homers and drove in 53 runs. This season, in 236 at-bats, he has 13 homers and 45 RBI.

His batting average with the Dodgers in 2008 was .396, while this season it's .305. His .743 slugging percentage with the Dodgers in 2008 has dropped to .559 this season. His .489 OBP dropped to .425 this season.

Since the All-Star break, Ramirez's numbers have fallen considerably. He was hitting .355 with a .487 OBP and a .669 slugging percentage when the All-Star game was played. But he has hit just .252 since, with an on-base percentage of .353 and a slugging percentage of .443.

These are not typical Manny Ramirez numbers.

He has batted only six fewer times than before the break, yet has hit five fewer homers, 13 fewer RBI, and has 30 fewer total bases.

In addition, he has walked 16 fewer times and struck out 13 more times. His OPS was 1.156 before the break, but has dipped to .797 after the break.

One of the most important stats is that he hit .371 with runners in scoring position before the All-Star break, but is hitting .250 after the break.

Since July 22, Manny has hit only two homers and driven in eight runs. On that date, the Dodgers were nine games ahead in the NL West race, but they have lost five-and-a-half games in the standings with Manny not hitting well.

Manny Ramirez has the stats right now to almost insure being inducted into the Hall of Fame with his 540 homers, 1,770 RBI, .411 OBP, .592 slugging percentage, and a .314 lifetime batting average.

However, there is the little matter of a failed drug test and that it's reported he also failed a drug test in 2003.

Hall of Fame voters will have to decide about 10 years from now if Ramirez deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, despite his use of steroids.

By that time, the voters could have a different attitude about steroids users; there may even be some steroids users in the Hall of Fame by then.

Having been born in the 1940s, I am a baseball traditionalist that believes cheaters should not be allowed in the Hall of Fame.

My opinion doesn’t really matter since I am not a voter, but hopefully enough voters believe, like I do, that the Hall of Famers who played the game the right way should not have to have their plaques on the wall next to those of the cheaters.

The season has a long way to go, but right now Manny is not helping the Dodgers nearly as much as Andre Ethier has since the All-Star break.

Ethier is hitting .375 since the break, has a .483 OBP, and is slugging .680. He has an OPS of 1.143. After hitting .209 with runners in scoring position before the break, he has hit .516 after it.

Manny is making $25 million this season, while Ethier is only making $3.1 million.

It's clear, however, that Ethier is the better player since the All-Star break. 


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