The impact that Manny Ramirez had on the Dodgers as a team last season was pretty obvious. He took an offense that wasn't exactly intimidating to opposing pitchers and made it pretty darn scary. Where as a young Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier could do some damage on their own, if you put Manny between them in the lineup they become legitimate threats.
Which is probably why the Dodgers are hoping they can bring Manny back this season because replacing the production he gave the team will not be easy if he doesn't. Still, to listen to third base coach Larry Bowa talk about it, you'd think that the losing Manny would be like cutting off the arms and legs of the Dodgers offense.
"Without Manny in the lineup I won't say we can't score runs, but we'll be like we were at the beginning of last year," said Bowa, who was Manager Joe Torre's right-hand man with the New York Yankees and first hire with the Dodgers.
"Manny is sort of that constant in that lineup," Bowa said. "With the kids, you don't know what you're going to get."
Now while the Dodgers weren't exactly a power threat without Manny to start last season, they were more than capable of scoring runs. At the end of April, which is the beginning of last season if my knowledge of calendars is correct, the Dodgers had scored 137 runs. That's more than every other team in the league aside from the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks, who were incredibly hot to start last season.
Really, the slide in production from the Dodgers offense, if there even was one mind you, coincided with the loss of Rafael Furcal at the top of the lineup.
What Larry should have said was "If you lose Manny Ramirez and replace him with Juan Pierre, well, you're in for some trouble." Don't just say the entire lineup sucks.
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Larry Bowa Doesn't Believe in the Dodgers Offense Sans Manny originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Thu, 29 Jan 2009 12:07:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.