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Manny Ramirez Suspended For PED Use: The New Dodgers

Well, Joe Torre surprised me with his choice to bat cleanup vs the Nationals rookie starter Jordan Zimmerman-James Loney. Loney has yet to hit a HR this year, and is hitting .276 with 20 RBI, but what surprised me is he has walked 16 times, and struck out only 8 times so far this season.

I wonder if the Dodgers lineup is better served, post Manny, with Matt Kemp batting 3rd, Ethier 4th, with Martin and Loney to follow. Torre can maintain his R-L-R-L in the middle of the order, and the speed is at the top of the lineup.

Here is the Dodgers lineup on Day 1-Post Manny:










I read some of the ESPN chats today after the Manny news was announced, and alot of chatters had the same question I had about the affect on the rest of the lineup. ESPN's Jason Grey says that there has been several studies showing that the lineup protection one hitter makes to a lineup is minimal:

Ken (Rahway, NJ): About where would you rank Hudson among 2nd basemen now that his lineup protection has taken a severe blow?

SportsNation Jason Grey : No more or no less than I would have before. Lineup protection has been studied many, many times and has been shown to have little or no effect. At the most slightly measureable effects, but not meaningful effects. Google will point you to a number of studies if you're so inclined.

and here's more from Grey on the subject of lineup protection:

SportsNation Jason Grey : It's coming up a lot in the questions, so bears repeating - the concept of lineup protection does not have the effects people think it has re: Manny. LOTS of studies done on it that are easily googled. One study's quote that I remember is "It's a specious theory propped up by selective observation." Overall, it really doesn't matter. So stop worrying about selling on Hudson, Furcal, Kemp, Ethier etc. for the next 50 games. Again, this isn't just me throwing stuff out of left field, google will tell you what you need to know.

As I write this, here is what the Dodgers do in the bottom of the first:

Furcal K's

Hudson walks

Ethier singles

Loney singles to drive in Hudson

Martin walks-bases loaded

Kemp homers to RCF for a grannie

Blake triples to CF

Wolf with the sac fly-6-0 LA

Who needs Manny?

But seriously, Manny will miss 50 games, and return on July 3rd. The Dodgers will miss his bat in the lineup, but they have the talent on the team to overcome his loss.

As I said yesterday, Juan Pierre's value has rocketed higher after today's news. Do you deal him? I may do just that. He is batting 9th tonight, and probably 8th on most other nights, and is a starter only till July 3rd. In that time, 50 games, he can probably steal you 15-20 bases at the most, and give you a solid average. But after that, how many ABs will he get in the 2nd half of the season? Not many, unless one of the OFers gets injured, or LA just runs away with the division.

I also think the value of Rafael Furcal and Matt Kemp increases, as both will be asked to run more, resulting in more stolen bases. In addition, Kemp moves up in the batting order, so he gets more ABs. Torre should really consider batting him 3rd.

One thing I read last night was that with the suspension, LA saves around $7.7 million of Manny's salary. LA can go out and use that to pay for a starting pitcher like Pedro Martinez or Ben Sheets, or even a starting pitcher who may come to LA in a trade.

Think of that, you get one of the best RH hitters in baseball back on July 3rd, and you can trade for a SP to help in August and September, and hopefully October. Last year, Ned Colletti gave up some top prospects in deals for Manny Ramirez and Casey Blake so that LA would not have to pay them the rest of their 2008 salaries. This year, with the suspension, they may be able to offer lower-level prospects in deals as they will have an extra $7.7 million in the bank.

It's a win-win situation, especially with the way the economy is going.