Manny Ramirez Rumors
It's the start of trade season with July underway, but the Rangers made the biggest splash of the day with a minor league signing. Fresh off of a very successful stint in Taiwan, Manny Ramirez will attempt to join the majors for the first time since his brief stint with the Rays in 2011. Whether Manny can bring his hot hitting from overseas to Arlington, Texas, however, remains to be seen. Here's more out of the AL West..
- Some many wonder if Ramirez is worth the gamble at age 41, but in the case of the Rangers, he absolutely is, opines Todd Wills of ESPNDallas.com. Texas needs a right-handed bat ever since Opening Day and Ramirez's minor league deal is a no-risk move.
- Before signing with the Rangers, Ramirez told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (on Twitter) that he also had conversations with the Nationals. The slugger believes that Washington had some interest in him as a pinch hitter.
- The Angels have scouted Cuban pitching prospect Miguel.Alfredo Gonzalez, but likely will not compete for him as hard as others, tweets Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com. Gonzalez is being pursued by a number of clubs, but we've heard recently that the Yankees won't try to sign him and he's "not a fit" for the Nationals either.
The Rangers have agreed to sign Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal, a major league source tells Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The 41-year-old recently left his Taiwanese club, the EDA Rhinos, to try to get back to the big leagues for the first time since 2011. The move has been confirmed by Texas via press release.
Ramirez, a Barry Praver client, will report to Triple-A Round Rock. Late last month, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe spoke with a scout who watched Ramirez and was told that he can "still hit with the best of them." The slugger told the Rhinos that he missed his family in New York, but in June, Praver told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports that his client wanted to free himself in order to play in MLB once again.
Ramirez played in just five games for the Rays in 2011 before testing positive for elevated testosterone, which would have netted him a 100-game suspension. He agreed to retire instead and when he returned in 2012 in the A's system, he served a 50-game suspension in the minors. Unable to get into a groove, he eventually took his release from Oakland.
Texas needs a big right-handed bat given Lance Berkman's recent struggles and they're hoping that Ramirez, who comes with minimal risk, could be the answer.
NIck Cafardo of the Boston Globe asked 30 people from around baseball who they would build their team around, regardless of age or experience. The leading vote-getter was Yadier Molina, with Buster Posey in second place. Here's more from today's column..
- There's a lot of uncertainty in the Twins' organization surrounding Justin Morneau. People wonder what happened to his power, which hurts his trade value. The Twins are a very loyal organization so they certainly won't give him away. If a deal for a prospect comes up, however, they would likely let him go.
- When closer Chris Perez is back in action he may be a piece the Indians would look to move. Despite his troubles, he would draw interest considering the shortage of available closers out there. “If a team can get him and he’s amped up because of a change of scenery, that’s all they’re looking for,” said one special assistant to an American League GM. “It’s all about getting bang for your buck during those two months-plus after you acquire him, if you don’t have to give up a lot of inventory to get him.”
- Speaking of closers, the Marlins' Steve Cishek is garnering attention and the Red Sox seem to have interest. However, clubs will have to consider whether he can handle the adjustment of going to a bigger market like Boston or Detroit.
- One National League GM believes that the Red Sox will have to give up on Daniel Bard at some point if things don't turn around. Because of his natural talent, a lot of teams would line up to trade for him in hopes that a change of scenery would turn him around.
- The Phillies declared last week that Jonathan Papelbon was not available, but Cafardo cautions not to believe it, especially in the wake of his public criticism of teammates.
- Nationals right-hander Drew Storen is an interesting alternative for a team looking for a closer. Storen was the Nationals’ closer two years ago but hasn't been as sharp in 2013 as he was in years past.
- Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco could be the first pitcher dealt as we near the deadline, even ahead of Bud Norris. Cafardo says not to be shocked if teams like the Orioles or Giants make a move on him sooner rather than later.
- One scout who saw Manny Ramirez in Taiwan said, “He can still hit with the best of them.” That doesn't mean that a team will be bold enough to sign him, however.
Manny Ramirez wants to return to the Majors, but Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com spoke with an official who doesn't think he'd be a fit with the Yankees, despite the Yanks' recent offensive woes: "Can't see him in the Bronx given all the baggage he brings," said Marchand's source. Marchand also polled readers, who are split about 50-50 on whether or not they would approve of a Ramirez acquisition at this point. Here's more on the AL East...
- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was the only Major League GM present to watch Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's recent showcase in Tijuana, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Numerous other teams were there to see him, though they were represented by scouting directors and assistant GMs. One executive told Rosenthal: “The world was there to see him. A million teams were in there."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the Yankees should consider selling low on Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in order to supplement their roster with some right-handed bats that can help alleviate the team's woes against left-handed pitching. Both are free agents at season's end, and neither is a key component to their success at this point, opines Sherman.
- In light of the Red Sox's recent closer shuffle, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal asks if the best solution is for the Sox to re-acquire Jonathan Papelbon. As MacPherson points out, the Sox have tasked four relievers with replacing Papelbon -- Andrew Bailey (twice), Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves and Joel Hanrahan -- and none have been able to get the job done to this point.
Ricky Nolasco would not mind pitching for the Giants, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don’t think anybody would be disappointed to come to San Francisco. I like everything about this place: mound size, good place to pitch, crowd is great and a great team. What’s not to like?" Meanwhile, the Marlins are laying the groundwork for a Nolasco trade, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. "They don't screw around," a source tells Rodriguez. "The second they get the deal they like they'll do it." In 15 starts this year, Nolasco has a 3.61 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Pirates "need" the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, ESPN.com's David Schoenfield argues. Schoenfield points out that the Pirates rank last in the National League in OPS at right field (with Travis Snider's disappointing season thus far being the main reason why). Also, the Pirates have a strong farm system with the sorts of prospects that could well tempt the Marlins. Schoenfield suggests that the Pirates could deal Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco, both Top 100 prospects, along with catcher Tony Sanchez and an additional pitching prospect. That would still leave the Bucs with a good crop of young players that would include Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Alen Hanson, Josh Bell and their 2013 draft class, but it would be a high price, as one would expect. Stanton isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, so the Pirates would be receiving a huge, and immediate, upgrade for the next several years. But the Bucs' financial situation makes their farm system a crucial part of any success they might have, so the penalty for missing on such a huge trade would be very high.
- The Yankees will be looking for hitters at the trade deadline, but one problem is that the uncertain timing of the returns of the Yankees' many injured hitters makes it difficult to know which positions they should aim to upgrade, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Also, the Yanks would still like to keep their payroll under $189MM in 2014, which could make it tricky to trade for players signed beyond 2013.
- Manny Ramirez is still looking for an opportunity with a Major League club, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com tweets. Ramirez is also looking for a chance to play in Japan. Ramirez, 41, played briefly for the Rays in 2011, and appeared in 17 games for the Athletics' Triple-A Sacramento affiliate in 2012.
With today's news that MLB could be looking to fast-track suspensions relating to the Biogenesis PED scandal, it is worth reading USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale's look ahead at the arbitration process that will have a major role in how things play out. As previous arbitrator Shyam Das explained to Nightengale, newly-minted arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will be entering "somewhat uncharted waters" as he assesses whether the evidence warrants whatever suspensions are ultimately leveled. You may also be interested in reading this interesting account (from Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times) of how whistleblower Porter Fischer blew the lid on the Biogenesis clinic.
In more pleasant news, here is a look at some goings-on around baseball:
- While the Red Sox' below-slot signing of first-rounder Trey Ball freed up some cash, Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the team is still unlikely to ink 22nd-round choice Ryan Boldt. Boldt, a highly-regarded high school outfielder who was rated as high as 39th overall (by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo), reportedly intends to attend the University of Nebraska. According to Callis, he is looking for a $2.5MM bonus to forego college.
- On the other hand, with the Astros locking up first overall choice Mark Appel to a bonus that fell about $1.5MM below his slot value, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says that the club is looking to spend some of that cash on later-round high schoolers. Houston could send some of its free money to tenth-rounder Austin Nicely (a left-handed University of Virginia commit) or eleventh-rounder Devonte German (a righty who will otherwise head to Nevada).
- The inimitable Manny Ramirez has opted out of his contract with the Taiwanese EDR Rhinos and has his eyes set on a return to Major League Baseball, writes FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. After mashing eight home runs and posting a .352 batting average in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, Ramirez's representatives Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro say that the slugger is "interested in returning to the majors in any role, including that of a pinch hitter." Now 41 years of age, the all-time great slugger last appeared in the bigs in 2011 with the Rays.
Manny Ramirez is batting .352 for the Taiwanese EDR Rhinos and ranks second in the league with eight home runs. While that might not be enough for MLB teams to show interest in the controversial slugger, he's drawing interest from Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines, according to a Sponichi report (Japanese link). Marines Manager Tsutomu Ito said he'd like to "make an acquisition when the team is strong, as MLB teams do," and that he's looking to give the DH spot to a power hitter. While it seems that Manny will continue to "be Manny" overseas for the time being, here's more from around Major League Baseball...
- Joel Hanrahan regrets how his brief Red Sox tenure played out and wishes he could've shown more to the fans, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford notes that it's impossible to predict where Hanrahan will end up in free agency this winter, but the two-time All-Star isn't ruling out a return to Boston. Hanrahan told Bradford he "has a lot of things left to prove in Boston."
- ESPN's Keith Law examines the recent rash of top prospect promotions, offering his expectations for recent call-ups Wil Myers, Gerrit Cole, Mike Zunino and Zack Wheeler (ESPN Insider required).
- In light of Mark Teixeira re-injuring his wrist, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post questions the Yankees' decision to activate him from the disabled list in the first place. Davidoff points out that the World Baseball Classic paid for the $7.38MM that Teixeira earned while on the DL because he was injured preparing for the tournament. Now that he's been with the Yankees, the team will be on the hook for his remaining $15.12MM of salary even if he misses the remainder of the season.
Sunday afternoon linkage..
- Unable to find an MLB opportunity, Manny Ramirez has agreed to sign with the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional League, agent Barry Praver told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Late last month, we learned that Manny Ramirez had a verbal agreement in place with the club but had the option of backing out if he landed a deal with an MLB team before March 7th.
- Former Nationals skipper Manny Acta has joined ESPN as an analyst but he still hopes to return to the dugout as a manager, writes James Wagner of the Washington Post. Acta said he was contacted by some teams for jobs as a bench coach or special assistant this winter but none as a manager. After managing two organizations during rebuilding stages, he plans to wait for the “right opportunity.”
- It would appear that the out-of-options Jeremy Jeffress has a good chance of making the Blue Jays as he has impressed in spring training, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- There's lots of trade talk surrounding Carlos Marmol and Alfonso Soriano, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum is unfazed by it, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Manny Ramirez has a verbal agreement to sign with the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional League, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reports (Spanish link). However, the agreement won't be completed until March 7th. Ramirez has until that date to reach a deal with an MLB team, but he expressed optimism about playing in Taiwan.
"It will be a new experience, experience another culture while I keep doing what I love and all I've done in my life, playing baseball," Ramirez said.
Ramirez, a client of agent Barry Praver, told Rojas that his representatives called almost every American League team that could use a powerful bat. However, "nobody was interested" in the words of Ramirez. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported earlier this month that Ramirez was in talks to play for the Rhinos.
Ramirez recently played in the Dominican Winter League, but he last played at the MLB level with the 2011 Rays. He signed with the Athletics last winter, only to be released in June, before he played in a big league game. Ramirez has 555 home runs and a .312/.411/.585 batting line over the course of a 19-year playing career that includes 12 All-Star Game selections and multiple suspensions related to performance enhancing drugs.
Manny Ramirez, who ranks 14th on MLB's all-time home run list, could resume his playing career in Taiwan. The 40-year-old slugger is in talks to play for the EDA Rhinos of the Taiwanese professional league, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
Ramirez recently played in the Dominican Winter League and wants to continue his MLB career, agent Barry Praver told Morosi last month. However, MLB teams such as the Indians didn't appear to have interest in Ramirez this offseason.
Ramirez last played at the MLB level with the 2011 Rays. He signed with the Athletics last winter, but they released him in June, before he played in a big league game. Ramirez has 555 home runs and a .312/.411/.585 batting line over the course of a 19-year playing career that includes 12 All-Star Game selections and multiple suspensions related to performance enhancing drugs.