The Dodgers really need Manny Ramirez. If they don't resign him they absolutely, positively will not make it back to the postseason, and I've got the numbers to prove it. OK, not me so much as the statistical gurus at Baseball Prospectus, but given their recent track record for forecasting everything from the Tampa Bay Rays' otherwise unexpected emergence in 2008 and the electoral landslide of Barack Obama, I'd take their word for it.
BP has released their latest Depth Chart projections which are "playing-time weighted projections for each player which then build up to a team projection." With Manny remaining unsigned for the time being, BP projects the Dodgers -- led by the notably un-Manny like outfield of Andre Ethier, Matt Kemp and (gasp!) Juan Pierre to help Los Angeles to an 84-78 record. That would match their National League West-winning record from 2008, which, you may recall, was due in large measure to the midseason acquisition of a certain free-swinging, free-spirited outfielder. Expecting a similar result with the dreaded Dreadlocked One not officially a part of the roster may sound crazy, but, hey, these are the guys who not only invent statistics like WARP and XIP but they actually understand them.
Among the other things we can reasonably expect this year:
- Although there is no game currently scheduled for Monday, Oct. 5, go ahead and make plans now to watch the defending world champions try and clinch a third straight postseason berth when they face the Atlanta Braves in a one-game playoff for the NL wild card. Just trust me.
- The Tampa Bay Rays are going to be worse, much, much worse than they were last year. They'll only win 92 games and finish in third place. Impostors.
- The Pittsburgh Pirates will finish in last place again with their 17th consecutive losing season, the same number of people who will actually care.
- The New York Mets will not choke in September again. Well they might, but fortunately for them, the regular season will extend into October, giving them enough time to regroup and win the NL East.
- Just like they did in 2008, the Chicago Cubs will steamroll to the NL Central title. Just like they did in 2008, they will then faceplant in the playoffs and extend their World Series drought to 101 years.
- Alex Rodriguez does not have enough juice to lead the Yankees past the Red Sox in the AL East. (Sorry, had to do it.)