Hey Fellow Fans,
I know many Dodger fans out there just want the ManRam back swinging the stick asap. However, I wonder how much thought is going into what will happen to Juan Pierre when Torre has to adjust the everyday line up to fit our prized slugger back into the mix. A tough call for any skipper when considering Juan's gutty performance since answering the call from Manny's departure. Not to mention his experience in the post-season, 2003 Championship ring with FLA and his dedication to the game. All of these facts are collectively overlooked on a consistent basis by most fans.
Yes, Pierre has slumped and been challenged by the coming of Manny and the break out of Kemp and Ethier. Ahh, let that last name referenced be the segway to my take if I'm Torre going into the 2nd half.
Ethier is a promising player no doubt. I just wonder if he is a long term fit for LA? He's a bit cocky relative to his track record thus far as a major leaguer. Complained a lot to get his starts, but granted has stepped up on par this season. I would not agree, however, that the Dodgers would be out of first place without him. He is young, inexperienced at this level and in my opinion does not bring the best attitude to the game on an everyday basis. With that said, he is a talented MLB player.
Pierre on the other hand provides the perfect combination for our beloved Dodgers in 2009. With Manny back in at the 3rd or 4th slot, it is crucial from my view to have Pierre, Furcal and Hudson ahead of him to work their way on steal bases, make pitchers nervous and mix it up inning in, and inning out. O Dog's measurable power is also worth mentioning as a 2B. Given that thought I think Manny fits nicely at the 4th hole. Followed by Loney, Kemp, Martin and Blake ( stack the the back half how you'd like-their all solid and Loney plays like a 10 year vet) we won't miss Eithier.
I will go as far to say that Eithier sets up as perfect trade bait. A contender needing lefty stick power to complement a RH slugger, in return for LA to bring the despartely needed started pitching for the 2nd half and play-offs. Without the pitching long term, another solid bat won't do much good if we can't contain the best of the best going into the stretch and October. I would look to the AL for some power arms that have experience managing heftier line-ups and someone with some play-off experience if possible. Just one more horse can get us there. Maybe a Garza from TB or a Vargas from Seattle ( I don't claim to know all the contractual limitations surrounding the semantics of player trades, but the idea is to get a feared #1 or #2 line-up addition).
As a confident fan my call would be to make a play for 2009 and a title. Keep your top Vets, and trade a little young talent to bring an arm to complete the package. Sitting Pierre to plug Manny back in and letting Eithier roam RF will not pay the dividends we could see if pitching comes and Eithier goes, and Pierre stays in the mix.
Think about the 2004 WS when Dave Roberts was the catalyst with the famous pinch run stolen base vs. NY? Pierre is that kind of clutch guy. Let him be an everyday player and help lead us to a Championship. A level he's been an integral part of reaching in the past. He's the guy you want in October with the winning run in scoring position and all you need is a slap base hit to get it done. The crowd roaring, season on the line, the utter need to focus on the situation and "the ball." Sit him and we're going to pay.
We need a mix of Vets and young horses like Kemp, Loney and Martin. But we need another legit arm more than having an extra young horse.
Lets see what the braintrust does after Manny slaps his last bomb for the Isotopes and is ready to lace it up again in Blue Town.