Manny Ramirez has been so quiet this year that it would almost appear as if he wasn't playing at all. His counting stats are also quiet with only four homers to this point and he is batting .268 with an .814 OPS. He's only played in 41 of the Dodgers' 58 games and many of those were single pinch hit opportunities. So what's the deal with Manny?
His lack of playing time and productivity have lead some to conclude that his decline is due to not using steroids anymore. Certainly, they would appear to be correct. But it seems to this writer that (perhaps) injuries and lack of consistent game in and game out playing time has kept him from gelling. Ramirez is 38 now and his production was off his lofty levels last year. Perhaps this is just the general decline of an aging player.
But consider this, Ramirez has a .438 batting average with runners in scoring position this year. He drove in the only run of a 1-0 game last night and is probably the only player this side of Pujols that the Fan would want to have up in that situation. Despite his lack of playing time, he has still driven in 26 runs. The man can still deliver.
The Fan expects one of two things to happen the rest of the season: Either Manny will get more playing time and will explode into the kind of hitter we are used to, or he will get traded to an AL contender with a need for a DH (Detroit? New York?) and his interest will pick up and he'll start mashing the ball.
Many probably feel that we've seen the last of Manny Ramirez as an elite player. But this Fan has a sneaking suspicion that this story isn't finished yet.