Manny Ramirez Should Abandon Hopes of Return to MLB

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2014

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 10:  Manny Ramirez
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Manny Ramirez has been living in his own bubble throughout his baseball career. Why would we expect him to stop now?

Only in his mind does the 41-year-old have any shot at making a Major League Baseball team ahead of the 2014 season.

Man-Ram spoke to ESPN Radio 104.5 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to reiterate his desire to keep his MLB career going at least another season, despite interest from Taiwan, per Enrique Rojas of

My qualities are still there, and I just need an opportunity to continue showing that the 'Super Manny' can help a team.

For now, I have no team interested, but I'm still working. Maybe I don't have anything this week, but who knows? Maybe next week I could get a call.

It's tough to figure out where Ramirez is more off-base with that belief.

Ever since about 2010, Ramirez has been on a major decline. The year before, he was suspended for 50 games that year. That didn't stop him from bashing 19 home runs and driving in 63 runs.

The next season, though, the home run total dropped to nine, while he recorded 42 RBIs.

Ramirez chose to "retire" in 2011, after it became clear that he was facing a possible 100-game suspension. He played in only five games for the Tampa Bay Rays.

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 10:  Manny Ramirez #1 of the Oakland Athletics in the dugout before the start of a spring training baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds at the Phoenix Municipal Stadium on March 10, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Kevork Djan
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Short stints with both the Oakland Athletics and Texas Rangers in each of the last two seasons proved fruitless for the former All-Star.

With all things considered, there's nothing that makes you think that a Manny Ramirez who's one year older will bring anything to your baseball team.

Even in his prime, Ramirez never offered anything in the outfield. The best defensive play of his career was arguably the time he unexpectedly cut off Johnny Damon's throw in the outfield.

Mike Carlson/Associated Press

If anything, the former Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians star would be a situational hitter, making the occasional start but mostly coming off the bench.

The problem with this idea is that his offense is no longer there, either.

After he was released by the Rangers last August, The Dallas Morning News' Gerry Fraley noted that Ramirez had shown "minimal bat speed."

Ramirez himself used Jason Giambi as an example of the player he could be in 2014. At 42 years old, Giambi played in 71 games for the Indians last year, hitting nine home runs and driving in 31 runs. Plenty of times he came in late in games to provide an offensive spark.

There are a few significant differences between Giambi and Ramirez.

First, Giambi wasn't completely done by the time he reached Cleveland. He still offered some offensive utility.

The other is that Giambi didn't carry anywhere near as much baggage. As Mike Axisa of wrote, teams could put up with Ramirez's antics when he was one of the most feared hitters in the game:

It's very hard to see another club giving Manny a chance at this point, not given his declining skills and two performance-enhancing drug related suspensions. The Manny Being Manny act was tolerable when he was one of the two or three best right-hander hitters on the planet. But now? Forget it.

You can understand why Ramirez would cling to whatever is left of his MLB future, but he should make sure that door to Taiwan doesn't close for good.