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Can we stop pretending that Manny Ramirez isn't any good?

Aug 30, 2010, 12:15 PM EST

Manny Ramirez was benched in favor of Scott Podsednik, claimed off waivers and let go just to save money, and ended his Dodgers career by getting ejected in the middle of an at-bat yesterday, so the number of articles being written with the premise that he’s a useless bum is at an all-time high.
Before buying into those arguments, here are some counter-arguments I hope you’ll at least consider …
First and foremost Ramirez is hitting .311/.405/.510 this season, which is good for a .915 OPS that ranks as the fourth-highest in the league among all hitters with at least 200 plate appearances:

Joey Votto          1.023
Albert Pujols       1.019
Carlos Gonzalez      .955
MANNY RAMIREZ        .915
Adrian Gonzalez      .909

Now, to me that alone would be enough to suggest that Ramirez is still pretty damn good, but the above numbers don’t seem to have had the same impact on many mainstream writers. So, take a look at this, which is the Dodgers’ scoring and record with and without Ramirez in the lineup this season:

                      R/G       W-L
With Ramirez          5.1     32-22
Without Ramirez       3.7     35-42

When the Dodgers have started Ramirez this season they’ve scored 5.1 runs per game and have a 32-22 record. When the Dodgers haven’t started Ramirez this season they’ve scored 3.7 runs per game and have a 35-42 record.
So, the guy ranks fourth in the league with a .915 OPS, his team has scored 38 percent more runs per game with him in the lineup, and they have a .593 winning percentage with him compared to a .455 winning percentage without him. I realize he has plenty of faults, has missed time with injuries, and can be a pain in the ass, but can we at least stop this charade about him no longer being a really, really, really good hitter?
When sportswriters (and fans, too) like a player personally they naturally tend to overstate his ability and value (see: Eckstein, David), but as we’re seeing now the opposite is certainly true about Ramirez. Based on the hundreds of mainstream articles written about him during the past couple weeks you’d assume he was hitting .225 and the Dodgers were thriving without him, when in reality that’s far from the case.
Manny Ramirez is a lot of things, but a bad hitter still isn’t one of them.

  1. andrewlw - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:25 PM

    Well said.

  2. Chris Fiorentino - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:31 PM

    Holy Cow!!! Something that Aaron and I agree upon. Stop the presses. Well said, Aaron. Additionally, all these lousy Dodgers fans are conveniently forgetting how he CARRIED them to the 2008 NL West title. Without his 17 homers, 53 RBIs and 1.240 OPS in the last 53 games of the season, they weren’t winning that division. And his 1.700+ OPS in 50 playoff at bats certainly were not the reason they didn’t beat the Phillies that year.

  3. Jonny5 - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    “Can we stop pretending that Manny Ramirez isn’t any good?”
    Yes we can. We don’t have to pretend to like him though do we? I’d much rather not agree if that’s the case.

  4. Pastabelly - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    If Ramirez weren’t such a douchebag, he’d still be in the Dodgers lineup . . . I mean Red Sox lineup.

  5. Tim's Neighbor - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:46 PM

    More proof Obama is a communist.

  6. MN Boise Fan - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    The offensive numbers are great. Now, take away the fact that his “defense” can no longer negatively impact them, and they look even better. As a Twins fan, I’m very scared of what he’ll bring to the middle of that line up. About the only thing I can think of is that it makes the middle of the White Sox line up pretty right handed besides AJ.

  7. Utley's hair - Aug 30, 2010 at 12:59 PM

    Damn foreign born socialist terror mongerer.

  8. D-Luxxx - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Wait, where we talking about Obama or McCain?

  9. Utley's hair - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:39 PM

    If it was McBush, I would have replaced socialist with tyrannical.

  10. Largebill - Aug 30, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    I’ll admit I don’t read LA papers on a regular basis, but I haven’t seen anyone say he’s no good. The columnists I’ve seen skeptical of a team picking him up didn’t knock his bat. Most comments focused on his contract and said it is hard to see him worth $4 million for a month. Additionally, they were strongly opposed to giving him an extension because of the thought that a Manny playing for his next contract is less likely to take himself out of the lineup. He is 37 with a somewhat checkered history for staying motivated, so this off season I wouldn’t offer him anything other than a low base, incentive laden contract.

  11. YANKEES1996 - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Mannys’ problem is not his lack of talent but his abundence of “boredom” that he appears to have with the game at times. He is kind of like a kid that gets bored easily and then does not apply himself to what he is doing.

  12. Calir - Aug 30, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    No Drugs, No Performance….can’t stay healthy. Not much more to say about manny except he’s just another example of a roider.

  13. mike wants wins - Aug 30, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    I’ve never understood this comment that he isn’t trying. Are people suggesting taht his OPS should be even higher?

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