Pick a Course and Go With It

Quick update: SI’s Jon Heyman reports that the waiver period on Manny Ramirez expires today at 1:30pm EST, or about 2.5 hours from now. That doesn’t mean that we’ll know for sure if he’s on another team by then, it just means that we’ll know whether he’s been claimed by another team or if he’s made it through, allowing the Dodgers to explore trades with any club.

Now, with the Dodgers having swept the Brewers and climbing to within five games of the wild card, there’s calls from some corners that say the Dodgers are still close enough to contending that they shouldn’t be selling. You know that I don’t really agree with that – there’s still four teams ahead of the Dodgers, and sweeping the 59-68 Brewers isn’t exactly a monumental achievement – but I understand how the case can be made.

So here’s all I ask of the team: whichever path you choose, don’t half-ass it. If you think you really have a shot, then don’t trade Manny. There’s no question that his presence fundamentally changes the lineup, and you can’t really be saying you’re trying to win if you’re playing Scott Podsednik (one of the three worst .300 hitters this year, according to baseball-reference) in left field instead of Manny, because that’s a huge dropoff in production. There’s no way you can let Manny go, and act as though you’re still a contender.

But that goes the other way as well. If you decide that it’s time to pack it up, and to move Manny, it shouldn’t stop there. Ted Lilly should go. Hiroki Kuroda. Octavio Dotel. Casey Blake, if you can get anyone to pick up his contract for next year. Really, anyone who’s not signed for 2011 or doesn’t have a good chance of returning should be moved. I’m probably not speaking for the majority here, but if the team doesn’t make the playoffs then it makes no difference at all to me whether they finish 4 games out or 10.

We’ll know a lot more in just over two hours. Here’s what I would do, though: I expect that Manny does make it through waivers, despite claims that the White Sox would grab him. If that’s the case, then you do nothing for the next three days, as you see how the series in Colorado shakes out. The Rockies are ahead of the Dodgers in the standings, and they’ve been red-hot lately. If you can win 2 of 3, hope that somehow the Giants drop a few to the Diamondbacks, and you end up within 3 games by the end of the weekend, then fine: make a run. If, as I suspect, the streaking Rockies win the series and the last-place Dbacks give the Giants little trouble, then you spend all of Monday and Tuesday burning up the phones to get whatever you can for whatever people want.

Whichever way things turn out, it has to be all or nothing. You can’t trade Manny and then keep Kuroda and/or Lilly. You just can’t.

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  1. [...] in their infinite wisdom, decided to trade neither one, meaning they’re doing exactly what I begged them not to last week: they’re doing this half-assed. They have a 4.1% chance of making the playoffs, and they just [...]

  2. [...] for, especially since he’s about one-tenth the hitter that Manny was. This was clear less than a month after he arrived: So here’s all I ask of the team: whichever path you choose, don’t half-ass it. If you think [...]

  3. [...] talented hitter walk for nothing, that seems like a pretty big sign that this is not your year and it’s time to move on. If you decide that it’s time to pack it up, and to move Manny, it shouldn’t stop there. Ted [...]