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Manny Ramirez Returns to the Dodgers

The Dodgers and  future Hall of Famer Manuel Aristides (Onelcida) Ramirez have an  agreement in principle on a two-year, $45 million contract.  Tony Jackson has the details.

The face-to-face meeting took place early this morning -- VERY early, apparently. There is now an agreement in principle on a two-year, $45 million contract, with the final hurdle of Manny passing a physical exam. Once that happens, he'll sign the contract and report to spring training, guessing he'll be here tomorrow morning. Ned Colletti and Joe Torre, who went to Los Angeles for the meeting with Manny and McCourt, are on their way back here to Glendale now.

For quite some time, it seemed the market for Manny consisted of only one team -- the Dodgers -- yet the negotiations plowed on at a snail's pace.  Now that the deal is done, we can move on and realize what this means for the Dodger offense.

Simply put, the Dodger offense has a chance to be awesome.  Sure, there are many question marks:

1) Can Orlando Hudson and Rafael Furcal stay healthy?

2) Will Manny's 37-year old knees hold up over a full season?

3) How much will Russell Martin, James Loney, Matt Kemp, and Andre Ethier improve, if at all?

But there sure is a lot of reason to love this offense.  For one, I expect Manny to join this list in 2009.

Historically, since moving to Los Angeles the Dodgers haven't been known for their offense.  Even adjusting for park (Dodger Stadium for most of its history has been a pitcher's park, often extremely so) the Dodgers have still had a team OPS+ of 110 or higher only four times in LA:

Year OPS+ Finish
1974 118 102-60, World Series
1978 115 95-67, World Series
1962 113 102-63, Lost 3-Game Playoff
1979 110 79-83, 3rd place

The only two years the Dodgers have led the league in runs scored were 1974 and 1978.  I'm not sure if the 2009 squad will match that, but this offense will be a force to be reckoned with.  If they don't lead the league in runs scored, they will be darned close.  Let this lineup soak in a little bit:

SS Furcal
2B Hudson
LF Manny
RF Ethier
C Martin
1B Loney
RF Kemp
3B Blake

I'm sure this will come back to bite me, but the Dodgers will average 5 runs per game in 2009.  Mark it down.