So the contending Dodgers just decided to fill a hole in the middle of the season with $38 million and an underachieving former star whose biggest swings involve his mood.
Sound like anyone else you know?
Hey, if this sort of thing works for the New York Yankees, who have won five World Series since the Dodgers last won one, then it works for me.
The trade for Miami Marlins infielder Hanley Ramirez marks the first true indication of the new owners’ vision for the Dodgers, and it’s Empire State high.
Sure, folks want them to fix concessions, they want them to figure out parking and they want to see Magic Johnson at the ballpark as he promised. But more than anything, they want them to show a commitment to winning, and Wednesday’s statement is as plain as green and white.
The Dodgers finally have the means and motivation to throw a bunch of money at a championship.
Ramirez is a 28-year-old infielder who, in the post-steroids era, has hit as many as 33 home runs and driven in as many as 106 runs. Lately he has fought injuries and a bad attitude, but that is why he was available. He is considered a symbol of the Marlins’ lousy summer, but he still shows up tied with Matt Kemp for the Dodgers lead with 14 home runs, and ranks second with 48 RBIs.
He’ll nicely fill out the middle of the batting order with Kemp and Andre Ethier. Ramirez will initially fill the shortstop hole vacated by the injured Dee Gordon and could eventually move to third base to replace the invisible Juan Uribe.
More than anything, he’s hope. We know now that the deep pockets of Mark Walter are bursting not only with bucks, but hope.
To those fans who are lamenting that the Dodgers just made another midseason deal for a wacko named Ramirez, I say: So what? Manny Ramirez was a fraud and a cheat, but even his biggest critic (me) can’t deny that he helped lead the Dodgers to consecutive appearances in the National League Championship Series.
To those fans who worry that this Ramirez will upset the collegial Dodgers clubhouse, I say: Check out the calm Dodgers dugout. Don Mattingly has the same nurturing traits that helped Joe Torre get the most out of Manny. Even when this new guy doesn’t run after baseballs, Donnie Baseball will handle him.
Finally, to those fans who are screeching about the Dodgers’ blowing money: That’s the beauty of this deal. Finally, they have money to blow. And finally, they are willing to blow it if they think it can bring them closer to a title.
Marlins fans chuckling that the Dodgers were suckered sound like the sort of whining fans from all those losing teams who traded away stars midseason to the Yankees. Maybe the Dodgers were suckers, but at least they are competitive suckers. Maybe they’re lousy buyers, but at least they’re not sellers.
Ned Colletti made the trade, which also brings left-handed reliever Randy Choate for young pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Scott McGough, after a couple of discussions with team President Stan Kasten.
For the first time in several years, Colletti walked away from a midseason boss meeting with his hands free and his heart soaring
“We’re not going to let money stand in the way of a true baseball deal,” Colletti said. “We’re not going to be reckless, do things just to do things, but when it comes down to strictly a baseball deal, we’re going to have the right to do whatever we need to do.”
Colletti added, quite unnecessarily, “That’s a tremendous position to be in.”
For those who don’t recognize it, that position is upright. Looks sort of strange, but one can get used to it.