Manny Ramirez has descended baseball's ranks.
Since his release from the Red Sox in 2008, Ramirez has gone from feared slugger to a selfish waste of roster space.
The 12-time All Star was once one of baseball's most intimidating presences at the dish. He had a flawless swing, ineffable approach and incredible raw ability.
There wasn't a pitch Ramirez didn't like, and there wasn't an offering he couldn't punish.
Now, Ramirez is worse than a washed-up veteran. On top of that, he is selfish, greedy and his usual lazy self.
I'll preface this by saying I am a long-time Ramirez supporter. I forgave him for his unforgivable baserunning errors on the 1997 Cleveland Indians, and I overlooked his unforgettable cut-off of Johnny Damon's relay throw from left-center field of Fenway Park.
Ramirez's talent allowed for such oversights. Now, the nine-time Silver Slugger winner's talent pales in comparison to his off-field atrocities.
Any team thinking about approaching Ramirez in insane. It's as simple as that. There's nothing he could possibly offer any squad.
He is a veteran lacking leadership and a hitter who's lost a step.
Besides leadership and a few timely hits, what could a player his age have to offer?
The answer is nothing.
Ideally, the headline of this article provided obvious insight into the state of Ramirez's career. If it didn't, you are still living in the mid-1990s or early 2000s.
Last year, Ramirez played for the Tampa Bay Rays. He went 1-17 at the plate, and fell way short of any one-year expectations riding on his $2.02 million deal.
This year, he had 14 RBI in Triple A Sacramento, but Oakland couldn't guarantee his promotion.
He obviously wants to make it back to the major leagues, but what value remains?
Is he a real piece for a contender, or is he a sideshow who's sole use is ticket sales?
I vote for the latter.
Ramirez has always been tagged as a lazy, selfish player who's lone intent relies upon personal gain and achievements. He hasn't changed, and teams do not need his presence polluting their clubhouse.
Maybe Ramirez can find his stroke for a pennant race. Maybe he will put his self-absorbed leanings aside and help a team come together at the same time.
For anyone thinking this, I have one question.
Have you watched Ramirez play? That just isn't him.
He is one of the best right-handed hitters to ever take a hack at the major league level. He is a lot of other things as well.
But Ramirez will never be selfless, and he will never be a leader. Outside of prodigious ability, why else would any team pick up a 40-year-old outfielder who literally can't, and won't, play defense?
They shouldn't, and I hope they wouldn't.
Baseball fans have heard "it's just Manny being Manny" countless times. When he delivered at the plate with ruthless authority, that was fine.
But now, Ramirez should be swathed in yellow caution tape as he toils in baseball purgatory.
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