Every Dodger fan at UC Irvine owes famed sports agent and Anteater baseball fan Scott Boras a handshake at Anteater Ball Park next season. Why? The best dreads in sports are swinging under an L.A. Dodger hat now and Boras was the orchestrator of the blockbuster deal.
If you bleed Dodger blue, you could not be more excited. Ned Colletti, the Dodgers’ general manager, lined up a three team trade that landed 12-time all-star Manny Ramirez from the Boston Red Sox and sent underachieving third baseman Andy LaRoche and pitcher Bryan Morris to the Pirates.
This trade was monumental. Right?
Well, in all honesty, it is too early to say how much this will actually help (or hurt) the Dodgers. However, there is some proof that these types of moves work.
Last spring, another L.A. team just 20 minutes south on the 110 freeway, made a move that proved to not only help them win, but make it to the NBA finals. The Los Angeles Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchack put together a deal that had the same type of high-profile status as the Ramirez deal.
The Lakers sent under-achieving center Kwame Brown, an unproven rookie Javaris Crittenton and two draft picks to the Memphis Grizzlies for one of the best young players in the NBA, Pau Gasol. Gasol was the missing piece to Kobe’s puzzle and the rest of the NBA felt that the Grizzlies gave Gasol to the Lakers for free. Whether it was the Grizzlies mistake or not, L.A. got him and the fans loved him. The Lakers finished the rest of their regular season 22-5 with Gasol and made it to the finals.
Manny’s trade holds the same type of potential. Whether this deal was fair or not, the Dodgers got an RBI fiend that has a career batting average of .312. Ramirez has the ability to completely change the scope of the Dodgers organization. The team now has a lineup that can produce runs and out hit their National League opponents if necessary, a luxury they have not had since the Mike Piazza era. Ramirez also brings that “Manny being Manny” energy to an otherwise sulking Chavez Ravine. The Dodgers dealt for a star and it is hard not to be excited about the potential for this incredibly improved lineup.
Again, it is still too early to tell. In Gasol, the Lakers received a player that transitioned into their system without any baggage, or ego, and he didn’t expect his team to adjust to his own style.
The magic in that deal was that Gasol fit perfectly with Kobe’s idea of a go-to guy in the post. Gasol would complete the triangle.
This may not be the case for the Dodgers and Ramirez. The reason Boston sent him to L.A. was not because of a lack of production. Ramirez was actually the key component to the Red Sox staying in the American League East race while “Big Papi” David Ortiz was on the disabled list. They traded him because he had become a cancer throughout the organization. His “antics” caused such distress among management that they felt that losing his production at the plate would be worth saving the integrity of the Red Sox organization.
Manny did accuse the Red Sox of mistreating him and being disrespectful.
The question now is which Manny will Dodgers get? Considering that the relaxed energy of L.A. not only fits Ramirez’s style of play, but also encourages it, the change may result in a relaxed and confident Manny that will continue producing huge numbers. He has stated that it already has. If that is the case, the Dodgers now possess one of the most feared hitters in the game on a team that is managed by one of the most successful skippers of all time, Joe Torre.
Even though it is too early to tell, the Dodgers just may have dealt their way into being a contender.
Boston vs. L.A. again, anyone? Don’t believe the hype, believe the Hypothesis.