Braun Not So Valuable

  • Sunday, December 11, 2011 8:18 AM
  • Written By: Dodgers Diaries

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If Ryan Braun's use of performance enhancing drugs is confirmed, I don't have a problem taking the award away from him. If this news had been revealed before the end of the regular season when ballots are due, Braun wouldn't have placed in the top five, and Matt Kemp would have won the award in a landslide. So what's the difference?

I'm also in favor of vacating all awards for any player who admitted use of PEDs, was convicted of taking them, or , was dumb enough to have had his name appear in the Mitchell Report. That includes Bonds, Clemens, Ken Caminiti, A-Rod, Manny and FP Santangelo. But I don't think rewriting the history books will get a lot of traction, especially since PEDs weren't against baseball's rules during that period.

The Braun situation is different. This was steroid use discovered in the midst of the season in which the player put up MVP numbers, and revealed less than a month after the vote was revealed.

Even though the MVP vote is supposedly taken before the playoffs. Which in and of itself is a stupid requirement. If, as some have said, the MVP has to come from a contender (because how valuable can a player be if his team finishes out of the race?) then why not consider the players' contributions in the playoffs as well? If the vote is supposed to take into account such intangibles as value, clutchiness, grit, and leadership, there could hardly be a better time to discern it than October.

For that matter, if we're talking about value, shouldn't we compare prices, too? To me, the most valuable player is the one who makes the most contributions toward winning a game at the lowest price. If that's the measure, Braun would have won easily because his 2011 salary was so low: just $4 million, or a little more than half of what Kemp earned.

-- JOHN ROSENTHAL

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The Eight Men Besides Manny

  • Saturday, July 4, 2009 9:20 AM
  • Written By: Dodgers Diaries

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Manny Ramirez’s two press conferences yesterday said all you need to know about the situation. The pre-game, which he announced as “Showtime,” featured the disgraced slugger behind sunglasses, cracking gum and putting on a performance for the assembled media. It was about the Manny Show, not about baseball.

The post-game appearance was much more sporting. Ramirez removed the shades, spoke about the game and his performance, and chewed no gum. Ramirez wants to put his 50-game suspension for using a “banned substance” behind him as quickly as possible. That’s not going to happen with three games against the Mets in the media spotlight of New York beginning Tuesday. Nor will it die down completely until the after first home game in Dodger Stadium on July 16.

But I, for one, am ready to stop talking about him. He did what he did -- we all know what it is, even if he won’t admit it -- and he got caught. He didn’t do anything that hundreds of players didn’t do throughout the 1990s, and what dozens of players are probably still doing without getting caught.

Ramirez served his time, which is more than you can say about some of the other profile names of the steroid era like Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, Eric Gagne, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds or Larry Bigbie. Unless he gets caught a second time, I’m willing to put this one in the past. Nothing that has happened over the past 51 games has changed my opinion of the man. He’s still a guy who quit on his team, pushed an old man to the ground, and cheated. I won’t boo him when the Dodgers return to Los Angeles, but I didn’t cheer Ramirez before, and I won’t going forward.

What may have changed is my opinion of Ramirez the player. There was no doubting his Hall of Fame talent before the suspension. Post-suspension, we’ll have to see how much of his gaudy numbers were Manny being Manny and how much of it was due to Manny buying something in a syringe. I’m not saying we should assume anything from his 0-for-3 with a walk performance in Friday’s game. But by the end of this season, we should have some pretty good evidence.

As for the game, I don’t want to hear about how Manny’s return pumped up the offense. Eight men contributed to the 6-3 win over the Padres. The Dodgers won not because the guy who dominates the headlines dominated the opposing pitcher. On the contrary, every batter in the lineup got on base at least once except for Orlando Hudson. The Dodgers pieced together a five-run first inning on a single, a walk, a fielder’s choice, another walk, two more singles, and a double. Juan Pierre, who replaced Ramirez after six innings, ran down a ball in left field that Manny never would have gotten. Hiroki Kuroda threw a good-enough 5.1 innings, and the bullpen was again spotless.

The Dodgers won as a team. They did it with Manny for 29 games. They did it without Manny for 50 games. And they’re doing it with him in the lineup again, even when he doesn’t produce. --- John Rosenthal.

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