July 31, 2014

When Manny Returns…

With Manny Ramirez taking his swings in Albuquerque and getting back into shape for his July 3rd return, the big question revolves around Juan Pierre and his role with the Dodgers…

In Manny’s absence, Juan has been a blessing for the team…his 71 hits (4th on the team), .327 average (tops on the team amongst the regulars) and 17 stolen bases (2nd on the team) are great numbers for a leadoff man…

From what I’ve read and heard on the radio, there are some things the Dodgers may consider in the coming weeks…

  • Trade him while is stock is high and reduce our payroll…that seems to be a very logical move and I’m sure some teams would be interested in a quality leadoff guy in their lineup…the positives for the Dodgers would be the reduction in payroll and maybe getting something good in return…
  • Keep him on the roster and relegate him to the bench…the positive for the Dodgers is Manny Ramirez, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier are the top-3 outfielders and deserve their starting roles…my fear is this would take away Juan’s momentum that he has built during Manny’s absence and we may see a drop in his productivity if he’s not in the lineup everyday…
  • Keep him on the roster, but give him a few starts here and there to give Ramirez, Kemp and Ethier a break…this works for me because you want to give guys a day off every once in a while to keep them fresh and allow them to be at full strength for what we all hope will be a long playoff run…PLUS, what if Ethier gets hurt?…what if Kemp runs into the outfield wall and is out for a couple weeks?…having an experienced outfielder available will do nothing but help the team…giving him a few starts here and there will keep him in “game” mode when called upon…

One thing I have thought about is this…

Have Ramirez, Kemp and Ethier be the starting outfield trio with Pierre on the bench…in the 6th or 7th inning, when we often see pinch hitters batting for our pitcher, use that as a time to get Pierre his first at bat of the game…

When the team takes the field for the next half inning, put Pierre into the game in left or center and you can move around the outfielders as you see fit (ie – if he replaces Kemp, Juan can play center…if he replaced Ramirez, Juan can play left…if he replaces Either, Kemp can move to right and Juan plays center)…

This will serve a couple purposes:

  • give one of the outfielders 2-3 innings “off” for that game…rather than having them rest for a whole game, give them their 9 innings of rest over 7-8 games…
  • Pierre will probably get 2 plate appearances per game if he comes in during the 6th or 7th inning…if you figure he does this 5-6 times per week, that’s 10-15 plate appearances per week which is better than giving him 6-10 as a bench player who pinch hits or fills in on occasion as a starter for the starters…
  • If Pierre comes in and pinch hits for the pitcher, most likely that means he’s batting 9th in the order and will bat in front of the projected leadoff man, Rafael Furcal…doesn’t Pierre/Furcal batting back-to-back sound familiar???…that’s what they do now!

Anyway, all this is just talk, but it’s something to think about as we anticipate the return of Manny to the lineup…whatever Joe Torre decides, I’m all for it (so long as we keep winning!).