Categorized | Mark Timmons

Our Chances Without Manny

kemp-eyesWhile many Dodger fans are moaning that we are a horrible team without Manny Ramirez, The Sporting News 2009 Baseball Yearbook picks the Dodgers to win the NL West Title.  Now, I don’t put that much stock in a tabloid rag and the fish hacks who write it :smile:, but it does show that some people think we can win.  Today, I’ll discuss our team without Manny.  However, for the record, I think that the Dodgers will sign him by the 28th of February!  Here’s what a rival team’s scout had to say about this years version Dodgers, sans Manny:

“The Dodgers have good young players and they are going to get better.  What they went through last September only shows them what they are capable of.  Yes, Manny Ramirez was  a factor, but he was there the month of August too, and that didn’t make a difference.  What happened with this team was that Jeff Kent was removed from the equation.  He got hurt, wasn’t with the team and the young kids finally relaxed and found the game fun again.  Once they did that it became misery for everybody they were playing. 

The offense has potential as guys like Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and James Loney develop.  This can aslo become a plus defensive team.  What’s important for the lineup is that Rafael Furcal stays healthy.  He is as dangerous a leadoff htter as there is in the big leagues right now.   He disrupts the game when he is on base, and he has enough power to change the direction of the game if a pitcher makes a mistake. 

Furcal is also the stabalizing point for the defense.  While their center-field situation is a mess, the only other spot where the defense can be ranked average, at best, is third base with Casey Blake.  The thing about Blake is he is a “try-hrader guy.”  He gives you so much effort that you tend to overlook his shortcomings. 

The Dodgers decided to go young with the pitching staff.  They can afford to do that because they have the good young arms..  Are they going to be ready this year?  Only time will tell.  But what you do know is that this year or next year, at the latest, this is a rotation that win dominate.  The jury is still out on Broxton as a closer…”

Let’s analyze the makeup of this team without Manny:

The Infield:

1B- James Loney is quietly becoming a force at 1B.  He will win a Gold Glove soon and should be a .300 hitter with 20 HR and 100 RBI.  That puts him near the top at his position.

2B- Blake DeWitt will be the official starter, but Mark Loretta will start against tough LH pitchers.  I predict that this platoon will produce a BA of .270/20 HR and 70 RBI from the #8 hole.

SS- If Rafael Furcal stays healthy, he is one of the top impact players in the game.

3B- Casey Blake provides a very important mental toughness which will help his young teammates.  The versatility of DeWitt (2B, 3B) and Blake (3B, 1B, LF, RF) allows Joe Torre to “rest”  Russell Martin at 3B on certain days.  Blake could also see some time in LF.

LF- Andre Ethier will be a year better and I project him at .300/25/100.  He is an excellent LF as well, with a very good arm.  He’s not as soft as he once was.

CF – Juan Pierre has to play here.  He’s not the greatest CF ever, but he covers more ground than Kemp and has more experience.  He needs to play there if Manny is not signed.

RF – Matt Kemp is possibly the offensive key to our season.  If he continues to improve, and realizes more of his potential (he reported with the pitchers and catchers to Spring Training), he will not be  just be the Bison, but he’ll also be the Monster.  I expect him to hit near .300 with 25-30 HR and 110 RBI from the Cleanup Spot.  He will also have about 15-20 Outfield Assists.

C-  This will be the year that Russell Martin distances himself from most other catchers in baseball.   His hitting and defense will be elevated, but most importantly, he will become the Dodgers captain.

This would be the lineup:

  1. Furcal  SS
  2. Pierre CF
  3. Ethier  LF
  4. Kemp  RF
  5. Loney  1B
  6. Martin  C
  7. Blake  3B
  8. DeWitt/Loretta  2B

That’s not a bad lineup, but even Ray Charles can see that it would be much better with Manny in LF and Pierre on the bench, with Kemp in CF and Ethier in RF.  I do think we’ll sign Manny before February, 28th.  However, what will make or break this team, regardless of whether we sign Manny or not, is what happens with our pitching staff.  Our bench should also be more than adequate with Asumus at C (great clubhouse guy), Loretta (ditto the clubhouse part) and Young as pinchhitters and with Hu, Abreu, Castro, DeJesus, Luna and Maza fighting for 2 spots at most.  In the OF, we have Xavier Paul who gets better by the year and Jason Repko, who I would not be surprised to see traded.  With Martin slated to play 3B occassionally, I would not be surprised if we kept 3 catchers, although Delwyn Young is working out there and could be the answer. 

We will absolutley live and die by our pitching.   Unless Manny can pitch, he won’t help there.  I am going to go out on a limb here and make this statement:  If Jason Schmidt continues his comeback, I would not be surprised to see him be our opening day starter.  Yes, that could happen, and it would be a fitting reward to a guy who was signed as an Ace and battled back to become one.  I do believe our starters will be Schmidt, Billingsley, Wolf, Kuroda and Kershaw (in no particular order), with the pen being composed of Wade, Troncoso, Mota, McDonald, Elbert, Kuo and Broxton.  Vargas, Estes, Stults and others are also in the mix. 

Jeff Kent, Andruw Jones, Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and Nomar Garciparra are  all gone.   Lowe didn’t want to be here, but was the only one of the five who leaves a void, a void we have filled with Wolf and the healthy Jason Schmidt.  The scout quoted above values Jeff Kent’s absence as much as he values Manny Ramirez’ presence as the key to the Dodgers offensive success.  That may be true, but Manny will certainly help us. 

This team is a lot better than most of you think, even without Manny!  For the record, if Manny doesn’t sign with us, it will be with the Yankees, which would make more of their outfielders available.  I still don’t see anyone beating the Dodgers offers to Manny because baseball expects to be hurting this year.  The Dodgers have sold half of the season tickets they projected for spring training and all the teams realize that with the economy more and more people will cut back on games and cut back on what they buy at the park.  You are kidding yourself if you think someone will pay Manny more than the Dodgers – certainly not the Giants!  One final thing.  If Manny doesn’t sign, we still can sign Orlando Hudson and put him at 2B, move Dewitt to 3B and platoon Blake and Pierre in the OF.  Just a thought…

About Mark Timmons

When you see the invisible, you can do the impossible!

31 Responses to “Our Chances Without Manny”

  1. Michael says:

    I love our team and its chances. I understand the Manny stalemate, but what the heck is the hold-up on O dog. He called us, lets get that one done.

  2. Mark Timmons says:

    Michael,

    If we get Manny, we really don’t need him, no matter what the price. I think DeWitt, Loretta and maybe a healthy Abreu will be as good. However, if we don’t get Manny (and we will) DeWitt can go to 3B and Blake to LF.

    Which lineup do you like the best?

    1. Raffy SS
    2. Ethier RF
    3. Manny LF
    4. Loney 1B
    5. Kemp CF
    6. Martin C
    7. Blake 3B
    8. DeWitt/Loretta 2B

    1. Raffy SS
    2. Hudson 2B
    3. Ethier RF
    4. Manny LF
    5. Loney 1B
    6. Kemp CF
    7. Martin C
    8. Blake 3B

  3. lawdog says:

    If the Dodgers could have had a one year deal with Dunn as opposed to no deal or a deal that pisses Mannyman off– that makes Frank even dumber than I thought.

    Or maybe he wants to keep payroll down around $70 million even if it means we finish under.500..Think back to before FA season occurred. Everybody was on the same page I'm repeating now. How can you guys think that an owner who screws up two can't miss deals that make us contenders or Champions is "smart" and taking the right track when he singlehandedly blundered up both the deals all by his lonesome.

    Now spring training has started and we're still waiting for Frank to pull a magic bean out of his butt. :shock:

  4. Badger says:

    I’ll take either one. But, I have been on the O Train since moving to Arizona and seeing him play every day. If he is healthy, he and Furcal up the middle will be one of the best middle infield combo’s in the game.

    What about Martin in the 8 hole? He has a great OBP, some stealing speed and could end up on second base a lot with the top of the order coming up.

  5. Blue Haze says:

    I think that the Dodgers may be expecting some good things this year for Abreu. That guy is a hitting machine, at least he was before his operations. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he isn’t the starting 2B. So Mark you are exactly right, they really don’t expect to need Orlando, with or without ManRam. He could bat 2 or 7, when in the line-up (I just hope he doesn’t get stuck in the 8 hole, not as many good pitches to see there, don’t want to see him start chasing).

  6. Mark Timmons says:

    I think that Martin will really step up this year and he wasn’t bad last year. He may establish himself with Mauer as the two best Catchers in all of baseball. He dropped to .280 last year, but did have a .385 OB%. Martin has a career OB% 30 points higher than Hudson and steals more bases.

  7. Badger says:

    If Hudson is healthy, big if, he is better offensively, and clearly better defensively, than any of our options. He was on his way to his best season ever last year when he got derailed by a freak injury. Maybe two middle infielders coming back from surgery is too risky for some.

    Abreu is another uproven. Yes, he could be very good, but he hasn’t been yet.

    Hopefully Martin’s partying is a thing of the past and he will step up and be the 150 game catcher we all believe he is capable of being. Last year he hit .294 pre All-Star and .260 post All-Star. This team needs him there for August and September.

    Who knows from Kemp. He looks like another Mondesi to me – $100 talent and a 10 cent head. Hopefully he gets it out of his a$$ this year as he has the ability to be a 40-40 guy with a .300 average.

  8. Bill Russell says:

    Around and Around and Around we go, where we stop only Manny’s know’s. Let me just say any team with Pierre playing CF is in trouble. And to all the Abreu supporters out there, he has made a bundle of errors while playing 2nd in the minors not to mention that he’s never been healthy long enough for us to get to know him in the majors. I keep hearing how Schmidt is going to be our Ace this year and how Kemp will hit 40 homers. I am beginning to think Dodger fans/ blogs are only dreamers in there little fantasy worlds. We don’t need Manny, what a F-ing joke. How soon everyone has forgotten how atrocious our offense was last year in the first half. We don’t need Manny or Hudson and we have lost Lowe from our pitching staff and Kent from the offensive. We will go from a playoff team to a non playoff team or first rounder at best only due to the weak division. Until Kemp can display some power, we will be lucky if anyone hit’s 20.
    Lets all dream a little dream with me…………
    :roll:

  9. Badger says:

    From the CBS site over there ———————————->

    “If the Dodgers don’t re-sign Ramirez, will they make any other moves before the season starts?

    There have been rumors that Los Angeles is very interested in free agent second baseman Orlando Hudson. Hudson would be an upgrade over incumbent second-year player Blake DeWitt, but DeWitt played well over the final two months of the season and in the playoffs. DeWitt finished his rookie season with nine homers and 52 RBIs and a .264 average. Here’s betting that Los Angeles will stay put with DeWitt and bank on him having a solid full year in the league. The Dodgers were also interested in free agents Bobby Abreu and Adam Dunn in the event that Ramirez didn’t sign. Both Abreu and Dunn are off the market, so if the Dodgers don’t ink Ramirez, they will start the season with Juan Pierre, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier in the outfield.

    Is Chad Billingsley ready to be the staff ace? The Mets have Johan Santana. The Phillies have Cole Hamels. The Cubs have Carlos Zambrano. Billingsley isn’t in the same league with those pitchers. At least not yet. Billingsley, who is healing nicely from a broken leg in the off-season, had a very solid 2008 season with 16 wins, 10 losses and a 3.14 ERA. Billingsley has the stuff and the composure to be a staff ace, but he isn’t there yet. To think that he is ready to lead a staff is a little naïve. The fact that the Dodgers are asking Billingsley to be their ace shows the team’s lack of pitching depth.

    Is Jonathan Broxton ready to the permanent closer? – After Takashi Saito went down with his elbow injury last season, Broxton had to be the closer. Broxton finished the season with 14 saves and a 3.13 ERA, but the most impressive stat was his 88 strikeouts in only 69 innings. Broxton closing out games in the ninth inning isn’t as much of a question as which pitchers will be able to bridge the gap from the seventh and eighth innings to get to Broxton.

    Can Rafael Furcal stay healthy for an entire season? – Furcal is the spark plug of the offense. When he came back for the playoffs after missing most of last year, Furcal gave the Dodgers a big lift at the top of the lineup. The problem is that Furcal missed 126 games last season and has battled various injuries for the past few years. If the Dodgers are going to have any shot at winning the NL West and making a run for the World Series, Furcal has to be in the lineup.

    The Dodgers have a lot of question marks this year. With Ramirez in left field, those question marks seem a lot less daunting. If the Dodgers re-sign Ramirez, they will once again be a serious contender in the weak NL West.

    If, however, the Dodgers fail to land Ramirez, it is foolish to think that they can contend all season with the Arizona Diamondbacks.”

    me – just the messenger. Yep, it’s possible to be a decent team without Ramirez. As soon as he signs with us, we become favorites. But, we are not the favorites right now.

  10. DRomo says:

    I agree with Badger.

  11. Bill Russell says:

    I agree with Romo about Badger.

  12. lawdog says:

    What most of you wannabe expert FA contract negotiators fail to see is that we are not dealing with set contracts with set dollars allocated for certain numbers of fungibles. If we were dealing with fungible goods your arguments would have some merit. Manny Ramirez is the furthest thing imaginable from a fungible good. When you put together a plan to build a winning team from very unique parts which you may or may not be able to sign for a variety of reasons you want to have more than one plan at the start. If your first plan doesn’t work out for what ever reason, you’ve got to be able to recognize that fact and move on to plan B (and plan C if plan B fails) while you still have time.

    If we were simply trying to buy 10,000 bats and Manny was our number one choice because he had the strongest materials with the best handles-=-and Dunn and Abreu were simply other bat makers we’d fall back on if Manny got pissed off at Frank’s wife and decided he’d rather piss on Frank than sell him a broken bat then your arguments wouldn’t be as silly as they are when you’re in the market for a slugger who is not a fungible but a unique human being who can never be replaced with another unique human even if they had similar stats.

    So instead of forcing Boras to give us the best price on the bats we want by eliminating all the competition for his product and refusing to bid against ourselves–which in the business world might end up where we get the deal we want but lose a potential source of bats in the future because after signing the contract Boras and Manny are both so mad they both piss on Frank and his wife. No-that would be “good business”. At least for this year.

    But Manny, Dunn, and Abreu are not fungible goods. By staring down Boras and pissing off Manny so that he’ll be bad news for whoever signs him no matter how wonderful the price, Frankieboy soured the Manny deal all by himself without the need of any outside bidders. Once Dunn and Abreu saw Frankie was insane–they quickly went to their own Plan B and/or Plan C and signed deals within minutes of each other without giving Frankieboy the option of coming out of his psychotic coma long enough to bid for their services before they signed with the other teams.

    Yep. McCourt’s a real genius all right. He managed to ruin three deals–two before he even got to bid on them and the other by refusing to come to his senses and realize he wasn’t buying buns for Dodger Dogs or bats that won’t break as often as last year’s model. All by his lonesome he managed to condemn the dogs to second division finishes for at least two more years when Manny and Dunn wanted to sign with him the whole time. Dunn or Abreu would have made us competitive. Manny would have won a World Series Title for us in all probability. That’s one dumb bastard we have running our operation and masquerading as a hands on owner. Felony stupid isn’t strong enough to describe his lack of brain power. A sack of hammers could have done a better job.

  13. Bill Russell says:

    We may see O Dog at Camel Back in a few weeks it sounds like but he may be in a White Sox uniform. He’s narrowed his teams to 3 which includes the White Sox, Cubs and Dodgers. I would really love to have this guy. I hope Ned can pull the trigger on this one.

  14. Mark Timmons says:

    1. O-Dog would be nice, but not esential.

    2. While I dis-agree with most of Lawdog’s post, he is certainly wrong about Abreu and Dunn. The Dodgers told their agents that they were not interested. I heard that Dunn offered the Dodgers a 1-year deal. I can’t confirm that, but the Dodgers said they were not interested to both Dunn and Abreu. Manny was their ONLY choice and still is. They will stand pat until after the All-Star Game if they don’t get him.

    3. I agree wholeheartedly with that logic.

  15. Badger says:

    I had a fungible part once – on my foot. But, I got it cleared up.

    If the Dodgers did say that to both Abreu and Dunn, I think that could be considered dumb. You don’t tip your hand like that. If you are in fact in negotiations, you must let BorMan believe they can be replaced, which they cannot but, hey, it’s called bluffing for a reason.

    Doesn’t Frankie have a hat full of magic beans? Why does have to use the ones in his butt? They can’t be all that magical considering from whence they cameth.

    I still say Manny for three years is a safe bet. I’ll bet anyone in here 100 push-ups that he will hit .290 or better with 100 ribbies at age 39. That’s far enough away that I can disappear on you guys if he doesn’t do it.

  16. DRomo says:

    Does lawdog need a timeout?

    I agree with Mark on O-dog. He is not essential, but having him and Furcal up the middle would be a dynamic DP combination. Nothing aginst DeWitt ( I like the kid alot) but if a 1 year deal gets O-Dog then Blake can wait and fill in for Blake & Hudson on occasion. Or stay in Vegas and get more ABs. Bottom line is Hudson is better right now, and we should have the best available to us!

    Lastly, Where the hell is our big splash?!?!

  17. Badger says:

    Whoever gets Hudson gets a guy who can hit .300 and brings two Gold Gloves with him.

    He is better than what we have now, and isn’t it about getting better?

  18. ken says:

    I would like the Dodgers to sign O-Dog and Cruz but not for Type-A draft picks.

    It appears that MLB is looking into adopting a new policy/procedure that would allow teams and their Type A players to sign “sign and trade” contracts if they are not on a team by the reporting date.

    I hope that this rumor is true. I would sign O-Dog & Cruz if we could trade 2 5th round type players from Ogden for each player.

    Some agents treat their players as fungible but many treat them as a small company for sale to a large company.

    Time In

  19. DRomo says:

    I am getting a sick feeling in my stomach the longer this Manny situation goes on. As much as the signs point to Manny coming back, would anyone else be surprised to have the rug pulled out from under us?

    http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/02/manny-ramirez-9.html

    What a kick in the crotch this would be!

    Splash damn it! SPLASH!!! :(

  20. Mark Timmons says:

    Badger said:

    If the Dodgers did say that to both Abreu and Dunn, I think that could be considered dumb. You don’t tip your hand like that. If you are in fact in negotiations, you must let BorMan believe they can be replaced, which they cannot but, hey, it’s called bluffing for a reason.

    No, here’s the deal. Abreu and Dunn were looking for jobs, and if they felt that they had been “played” by the Dodgers that would certainly hurt the Dodgers credibility with other free agents. Boras could care less about these players, but the Dodgers have credibility to maintain. The Dodgers are now one of the “destination” teams to play for:

    1. Great city;
    2. Great Major League facilities;
    3. Great Minor League Facilities; and
    4. A year-round rehab, workout and training facility.

    If we were to play games with Abreu and Dunn to get Manny, we would jeapordize our good faith with other Free Agents.

    Boras? He has no good faith. “Screw all the other players, just sign mine!”

    DRomo said:

    I am getting a sick feeling in my stomach the longer this Manny situation goes on.

    Yes, Boras is trying to make the Dodgers feel that way too and let’s hope that they don’t vomit!

  21. Badger says:

    I don’t think it works that way mover. You are suggesting that there is a conscience in MLB. I don’t buy it. This is a business situation and it has to be treated like business – you keep all options open. If Manny had signed with someone else, and you have already closed the door on your options, well, that doesn’t sound all that schmart to me.

    Some players are worth a first round pick. First round picks aren’t guarantees of anything and they won’t be around for another 4 years or so. We need to go for it now. That’s my take on it anyway.

    But having said that, I don’t know if Hudson is worth that risk. And, why would a guy coming off surgery be a Type A?

    Type A players are those who rank statistically in the top 20 percent at their position. Compensation for a Type A player is the signing club’s first-round draft pick and a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds.

    Type B players are those who rank between the top 21 and 40 percent. Compensation for a Type B player is a supplemental pick between the first and second rounds.

    Hudson only played 107 games and had only 407 at bats. You need 502 at bats to qualify for a batting title, so wouldn’t you need the same number of at bats to qualify in the top 20% at your position?

    Guess not.

  22. Badger says:

    Thanks ken.

    That makes a lot of sense to me. MLB is shooting themselves in the foot with the way things are. Compensation? Sure. First round pick? No way. Sign and trade is not a new thing, the NBA has been doing it for years. Of course, over there it has to do with a salary cap issue.

    Salary cap. When will MLB get on board with what is working extremely well in the other major sports?

  23. Mark Timmons says:

    I was confused. Orlando Hudson was offered arbitration (I thought he wasn’t), so there is NO CHANCE he will be signed. He will be 31 and is not that big of an upgrade to give up the #17 pick.

    Sorry, 2B is up for grabs between Abreu and DeWitt, no matter what Torre says.

    The Type A Rule modification makes too much sense. Bug Selig will veto it. He’s a moron!

  24. Mark Timmons says:

    Badger,

    It’s not so much conscience, but rather, common sense. You “play a game” with a free agent and, if he loses out on another job and your name is mud. Deal above board with the players. Screw the agents. Broas says the same bout his players and the GM’s. If the Dodgers had pretended to want to sign Dunn and he missed out on the contract with the Nationals, players would be wary of ever signing with the Dodgers. You cannot play the game like that, and the Dodgers don’t!

    Look, we didn’t want Dunn and Abreu and we won’t give up a pick for Hudson. I really do hope we sign Manny, but we will sign him with dignity, but not under duress (real or imagined). If we do, we might win it all. If we don’t, we will still be very good and we will probably get a premier hitter after the All-Star game.

    Unlike Lawdog, I believe this team will be good this year and if Furcal stays healthy, we will be VERY good. I am going to enjoy this season – with or without Manny.

  25. Roger says:

    I said it last week and I say it again -

    Manny just does not want to be there at the beginning of Spring Training. So he will wait a bit longer — and then sign. Or sign, and have the team tell him that he does not have to report until, say March 10 or 12 or something.

    Mark — I heard something on XM Home Plate yesterday that the minor league games in Spring Training do not start until about 2 weeks into Spring Training. So we might not see the 10 am minor league games like usual. Just watch them in drills and stuff. But, up close.

  26. GoNzO says:

    I found this read very interesting even though it is Jesse Ventura talking, and he’s calling the kettle black it makes sense to me. I bet if Bud was facing this situation, he’d take on the union in a heartbeat.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/9229144/Report:-Ventura-calls-for-Selig's-indictment

  27. Mark Timmons says:

    Roger,

    Probably some truth to that…

  28. Badger says:

    I still don’t buy your premise mark. If the Dodgers were “honest” to both Dunn and Abreu, why as last as Feb. 4th was Dunn saying he wanted to play in L.A.? If they had told him they didn’t want him, wouldn’t he have not waited so long to sign with the losing Nationals? And you talk about the Dodgers as somehow possessing more integrity than any other team in the game. I don’t buy that either. This is a business and everyone in it, players, agents and G.M.’s know exactly how the business game is played.

    And, as further evidence of the lack of integrity in MLB, I refer you to ongoing steroid scandal AND the above article posted by Gonzo. The game is polluted from the top down.

  29. Mark Timmons says:

    1. No question Selig is a crook, or moron… probably both!

    2. Bob Costas should be named commissioner.

    3. Dunn’s agent never had any substantive talks with the Dodgers and he was always told that the Dodgers were interested in him as a fallback only.

    4. I’m not saying it’s about integrity. It’s about trust and fairness to the free agents. I don’t believe you can play those games with players. Let’s say the Dodgers did that and two years later, Dunn is playing with a player who the Dodgers want to acquire very badly who happens to have a no trade clause. When that player asks Dunn about the Dodgers, his opinion could sway that player to NOT waive his clause in a trade to the Dodgers. You just can’t play games like that with players – it will bite you every time.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] career years for the Dodgers, so I thought I’d post what I said last year.  This is from a February 16, 2009 post, which was BEFORE O-Dog and Manny were signed: 1B- James Loney is quietly becoming a force at [...]


Leave a Reply

Mandatory Daily Dodger Reading