According to Jon Morosi, Manny Ramirez hopes to return to MLB after recently opting out of his contract with the EDA Rhinos in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. There have been reports of a possible opportunity with the Chiba Lotte Mariners in Japan, but Manny’s agent Barry Praver made it clear their preference is a return to MLB.
“The reason he decided not to return for the second half was to free himself to be available to play in the United States,” said Praver. “This whole thing with Manny in Taiwan was a phenomenon. He invigorated the league. Attendance went through the roof. It was a very positive experience for both sides. Manny was so invigorated by his play there that he wants to return to the Majors … Manny would be interested in returning to the Majors in any role, including that of a pinch-hitter.”
Ramirez, 41, hit .352/.422/.555 with eight homers and more walks (23) than strikeouts (21) in 49 games and 206 plate appearances for the Rhinos. The CPBL is roughly equivalent to Single-A ball. He last played in the big leagues in 2011, when he appeared in five games for the Rays before being suspended for a second failed PED test. The suspension was reduced from 100 games to 50 games, and he served it last season after signing with the Athletics. He asked them for his release before they had a chance to call him up.
I would be, unequivocally, in favor of the Yankees signing Manny. The offense is lifeless and for the most part they’re an uninteresting team and a bore to watch, something Ramirez would correct in a heartbeat. I think the Yankees would sooner bring Don Mattingly out of retirement though; I can’t imagine they (or any other team, for that matter) would go for it because of all the baggage. But man it would be fun. Give him the league minimum and see what happens. What’s the worst that could possibly happen, he hits like Vernon Wells and they cut him? Embrace the sideshow.