Manny Ramirez clearly isn’t ready to hang up his cleats, as the slugging right-hander continues to find work in his efforts to return to the Major Leagues. Ramirez took to an unconventional route this past winter, faced with an absence of interest from teams in MLB, and agreed to join the EDA Rhinos of the Taiwanese professional league. Ramirez became an instant attraction in Taiwan and slugged his way to the top of the league’s home run leaderboard before abruptly leaving the team mid-June.
He’d reportedly told the team that he missed his family, but word quickly leaked that Ramirez was hopeful for another chance with an MLB team. He seems to have gotten that chance, as word came out mid-Wednesday afternoon that the now 41 year old had agreed to sign a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that Ramirez will join the team’s Triple-A affiliate in the coming days. He’s also hearing that Ramirez will cut off his trademark dreadlocks in order to adhere to some of the strict policies that the Rangers organization holds their minor leaguers to.
It’s unclear what kind of time frame the Rangers are looking at with regards to Ramirez’ potential arrival with the Major League club, but GM Jon Daniels at least sounds optimistic about the signing:
It’s a no-risk flyer in a lot of ways. Our history, we like giving guys second chances. We know on and off the field the good and bad of Manny’s career, but we’re inclined to give him an opportunity here.
When it comes to playing for the Rangers, two things are important to us: You have to be talented and production. And just as important, you have to fit our winning culture. Those are going to be the two tests we’ll judge Manny by.
Ramirez’ history is widely known by all and there is a significant segment of the baseball landscape that doesn’t see any reason why he continues to get these “second chances”, but the thought of him returning to the Major Leagues does certainly have it’s own appeal. Ramirez was arguably one of the greatest right-handed sluggers of all time, though that legacy has strongly been tainted by ties to performance enhancing drugs and countless other questionable behaviors. If Ramirez can hit at Triple-A – and prove himself a “model citizen” – then it’s entirely likely we’ll see him in the Texas lineup before summer ends.