The MLB offseason has already seen a number of veterans who were out of baseball last season sign minor league deals in an attempt to make a return to the majors.
Miguel Tejada, Scott Kazmir, Jeremy Bonderman and Rich Harden have all earned minor league deals after sitting out the 2012 season, and another name could join the list soon.
He's been playing for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League and has four home runs in the postseason alone, according to Morosi.
He made his debut for the team back on November 14, homering on the first pitch he saw (h/t ESPN). Here is a video of the home run:
Ramirez last played in the majors for the Rays in 2011, signing a one-year, $2 million contract in the offseason to join the team. Ramirez lasted just five games for the Rays though, going 1-for-17 at the plate, before abruptly retiring after a second positive PED test.
The Oakland A's signed him to a minor league deal last season, and after serving a 50-game suspension he was reinstated on May 30. He hit .302 in 17 games at Triple-A Sacramento, but had no home runs and a .697 OPS and on June 15 he was given his outright release at his own request.
Now the 40-year-old is attempting yet another comeback, and while he comes with plenty of baggage, he also ranks among the greatest hitters in the history of the game. With a career .312/.411/.585 slash line, 555 home runs and 1,831 RBI, the 12-time All-Star remains an intriguing option.
Here are three teams who could take a chance on Ramirez and give him a shot at making a comeback:
Tampa Bay Rays
It didn't work out last time, and there may be some ill will as a result, but there is no question the Rays could benefit from adding Ramirez if he is even remotely close to the player he once was.
With Ryan Roberts set to open the season as the team's starting DH and Sam Fuld slated as the everyday left fielder, Ramirez could certainly play his way into significant at bats.
With manager Joe Maddon's emphasis on defense it's unlikely Ramirez would find himself anywhere but DH, but if they can add him on a no-risk minor league contract it could be a risk worth taking.
For a rebuilding Astros team with little reason for fan fare in what will almost certainly be another 100-loss season, adding the star power of Ramirez could sell a few more tickets if nothing else.
Carlos Pena was signed to be the team's DH, but he doesn't hit left-handed pitching well at all (.724 career OPS vs. lefties, .864 career OPS vs. righties) so a platoon could make sense.
Ramirez could take the DH at-bats against left-handed pitching and serve as the team's top pinch-hitter and occasionally play some outfield. It would be a low-cost way for the Astros to generate some interest in what promises to be a long season in Houston.
New York Yankees
The Yankees have long been a landing spot for aging stars to have on last hurrah, dating back to the days of Chili Davis, Darryl Strawberry and Cecil Fielder during the late-1990s.
More recently, former stars Eric Chavez and Andruw Jones put together productive seasons on the Yankees bench.
With both of those guys gone in free agency, and an abundance of left-handed hitters in the lineup, Ramirez could be the perfect guy to fill out the bench. At the very least, he'd likely offer similar production to what Jones has put up over the past two years.
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