Manny Being Manny unfolds in Texas
Manny Ramirez is a prankster, and once again the joke is on us.
After quitting Taiwanese baseball, what we then suspected was the last level he could be good at, we scoffed (or ignored, which is pretty much what I pretended to choose to do) at his rationale.
Manny wanted to play in the majors again. By quitting the Eda Rhinos, whose TV ratings, home field attendance, jherri-curl juice and dirty underwear sales he’s increased a mighty fold, he signaled that his services were open for bidding.
Well, he didn’t signal so much as make obvious that no, he didn’t get a better offer to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters in higher level Japanese pro baseball. He had no offers whatsoever. Make me one, he told teams.
I winced through it all in silence.
Only ManRam, 41, gets a millionth chance.
The Texas Rangers signed Ramirez to a minor league deal, Wednesday and have assigned him to Triple A Round Rock.
The Comedy Tour continues.
An anonymous scout, maybe a moonlightin’ Ramirez, told the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo that the former two-time Red Sox World Champion could still hit with the best of them.
Who them was wasn’t really specific. He could be referring to the rest of Taiwanese baseball, which Ramirez absolutely crushed. He could have been referring to the grounds crew at Fenway Park.
Or maybe he was a scout for the Rangers. The team has nothing to lose, and by signing Ramirez, they have a potential replacement for the struggling Lance Berkman at DH.
The Rangers need outfielders, too, but I’m pretty confident Ramirez won’t be trolling left field for anyone at any level anytime soon.
You can’t possibly scout Ramirez. His stats are tainted, but there’s also the fact that he’s old, hasn’t played a Major League game since getting suspended for a second time seven games into his Tampa Bay Rays stint. Assuming the juice was on his body, it didn’t help much. He hit .059 BA / .059 OBP / .059 SLG. Pretty much one hit and no walks in 17 at bats.
Ah ha! Small sample sizes. And he was pretty OK in Oakland’s Triple A Sacramento RiverCats associate. The power was hardly there. Ramirez slugged below .400. But it’s not like the A’s quit on him so much as he quit on them.
For all we know the Man Child with baseball’s longest nickname can still hit with the best of them, referring to major leaguers. But we never know how his story goes. He could be batting .300 and walking like usual at Triple A for three weeks, and then quit when he’s so close to being called up.
Then again, maybe Taiwanese pitching is all he can hit anymore.