Rangers reach deal with DH Manny Ramirez
Less than two weeks into his search for a new home in the MLB, Ramirez has found what he was looking for - the Texas Rangers signed Ramirez to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Round Rock.
Ramirez's last Major League appearance was back in 2011 with the Tampa Bay Rays. He played in five games, batting just .059 before testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, after which he told the MLB he would retire.
When he decided that he wanted to play professionally again, Ramirez was told that he would have to serve a 100-game suspension. He spoke with the MLB and got his suspension reduced to a 50-game ban, which he served while with the Oakland Athletics organization in 2012, though he never appeared at the Major League level.
He'll now be immediately available to play for the Rangers, and it appears that he still has some skill at the plate left in the tank, considering his outstanding performance with the Rhinos. At this point in his career, Ramirez is strictly a designated hitter, and he will be used as such in Texas. Current Rangers DH Lance Berkman has batted .263 with 34 RBI in 64 games so far this season. Berkman can also slide over to first base to make room for Ramirez at the DH spot, if the Rangers so desire. First baseman Mitch Moreland has batted .268 with 32 RBI in 68 games this year.
The Chinese Professional League obviously does not boast the same level of competition as the MLB, but Ramirez's performance over there was impressive nonetheless. If he can bring that same level of play to Texas, he could have some significant value to the Rangers, and to fantasy owners in deeper leagues.
One of the game's greatest hitters and most unpredictable personalities, I think it's safe to say that many of us are excited to have Manny back in the league.