For one thing, they got a player who will be 37 years old a month into the season, a fielder of ill repute, a base runner who seldom legs out close ones in the infield, a guy with probably the worst hairdo in the big leagues, a monumental ego with very very thin skin, a guy known to sulk when things are not to his liking, a guy who has worn out his welcome at least a couple of times before.
With the ash in his hand, when Manny Ramirez wants to be, he's lights out. Too bad baseball isn't a platoon game like football.
Well Manny is back. After one of big league baseball's longest if not best post-season soap operas in history.
The National League is not about to run out and adopt the designated hitter rule which would immeasurably help the Dodgers (and hurt their opponents).
How often will Manny turn out to be as good a hitter as he has been, as he thinks he is, as Frank McCourt hopes he will be? Manny is, if nothing else, more than excitement. He is a nuclear event always ready to go off. This is likely to keep Mssrs. Torre and Lasorda awake longer than usual.
Who can blame the Dodgers fans from wanting something close to what they will be paying for. Juan Pierre's Dodgers career could be over before Manny arrives in Arizona.
With Manny coming in, Jason Repko's career (he's the best fielding of the second string outfielders) has to be on the uptick.
With Manny, the starting lineup becomes formidable if not exactly a reincarnation of the 1927 Yankees or even the early 1950's Brooklyn Boys of Summer. But it ain't bad. With Manny, the Dodger can afford to rest catcher Russ Martin more often, to hit Casey Blake down in the order where he belongs.
Manny may be one of the top two or three narcissists in the game, a guy who can get higher looking at himself in the mirror than Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa did from, well, you know what.
Is Manny going to be a season long instant and ongoing hit like he was the last months of last year. If you believe that, well you are the kind of guy who is really, really expecting the President to turn out to be the glib speaker who promised so much but as of yet has done little but find Washington and the world a giant minefield of stumbling blocks.
There's a lot of IFs in this picture. A healthy and happy Manny can do wonders for the top of the order: Rafy Furcal IF his back holds up, and for 2B Orlando Hudson, IF he stays healthier than he has the past two years. With men on base, and IF Manny is patient, there are sure to be men on base for James Loney, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier who pitchers will have to be more careful with than usual.
Of course, every baseball team and season is prey to the injury jinx, both the the physical and mental kind.
All of a sudden, however, the Dodgers pitchers have been given the gift of another run a game. Whereas Derek Lowe had a great ERA and a so-so won loss record, the 2009 Dodgers pitchers could have the reverse, a so-so ERA and a great winning record.
And that is what one very good bat gets you, even at a very pricey $45 million.
For Dodgers fans, there is the added hope that no more is heard of Brother Boras for many months, and that owner Frank McCourt will go silently back to whatever it is he does well if there is such a thing.
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