When the Texas Rangers took a “no risk flyer” on Manny Ramirez I did not expect to ever see him in an actual Rangers uniform. I thought it was merely a shot in the dark and not worth a second thought. But the national media would not let me ignore the signing. To Rangers fans it seemed like a distraction but to everyone else it was big news.
Why do they all care? The guy’s a 41 year old has-been. He’s been busted for PEDs and even served suspensions because of them. The guy makes Terrell Owens look humble for goodness sakes. Why do people care and why did Jon Daniels invite this annoying attention to Arlington?
Amidst all of these questions I did what I vowed I would not do – I gave it a second thought.
Ramirez today does not seem like the Ramirez of yesterday. He’s in stable financial shape so he’s not playing for the money. In fact I read he was donating his salary to charity. That didn’t sound like the Manny Ramirez I knew. Then I read he was sitting down with Mike Olt in Round Rock and working on Olt’s swing. Better yet, it worked and Olt seemed to break out of his slump. Wow. If this continues to work for Olt, Manny just proved his worth.
Even if he never made the majors, just getting Olt back on track is a very big deal.
Can he hit?
I know a lot of nice guys who give to charity and are happy to help co-workers. They can’t hit a baseball though – can Manny?
Then I read this quote from Nelson Cruz discussing his time in the Dominican Winter League where he played against Ramirez,
“He hit two home runs, one to right field and one to right-center. He hit hard line drives. What I saw, he looked good.”
Yup. Then I watched him. It’s true. He can still hit. He has plate discipline and really can contribute at the plate. The Rangers are fairly desperate for a decent right hitting bat and Manny may have just enough pop left to help out.
Look, I’m not saying he’s going to set the league on fire but given the Rangers needs and what he seems to be able to provide, I see Manny making it up to the Rangers before this summer is over.
I’m glad I gave that a second thought.
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