Manny Ramirez Wants to Play for Taiwanese Baseball Team After Offer to CoachMay 5, 2020
Former MLB star Manny Ramirez is looking to make a playing comeback for a Chinese Professional Baseball League team, per Jon Heyman of MLB Network and WFAN Sports Radio 660:
Jon Heyman @JonHeyman
Manny Ramirez Jr., his dad’s agent, told me the Dragons of CPBL (Taiwan) talked to them about hiring Manny to coach, and he may. But “he wants to play,” Jr. said, if not now then “in 2021.” They may also talk to others (ie the Brothers) about playing. “He’s looking really good.”
The 47-year-old suited up for the CPBL's EDA Rhinos in 2013, smacking eight home runs with 43 RBI and a .352 batting average in 49 games. He last played professionally for Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Winter League during the 2014-15 season.
The four-team CPBL now consists of the Rakuten Monkeys, Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions, Chinatrust Brothers and Fubon Guardians. The Wei-Chuan Dragons will join the group as the league's fifth team in 2021 after playing one season in the CPBL's minor league system.
If Ramirez joined the Dragons, he'd have to wait one season before making his return to China's top professional baseball level.
Ramirez made his desire to play clear on April 29, telling the following to Mark Buckton of the Taiwan Times:
"My goal for 2020, is to find a roster spot in the CPBL.
"I have been itching to get back in the batter’s box and be able to compete again. I also miss being around teammates and team dinners post-game.
"I know if I was given the opportunity to come in an organization as a player-coach, it would do great things for the organization and the league.
"When I arrived in 2013, attendances nearly quadrupled overnight. That means, there is love for the game and the fans will come but the owners must bring what the fans want."
Ramirez said he had some offers from teams in the Atlantic League, which is an independent professional league based in the northeast United States. However, he said he is "more in favor of experiencing Taiwan and their delicious food."
"I am still confident in my ability to serve as a player-coach and provide positive contributions to any ball club that is willing to have me on their staff/roster," Ramirez added. "I have been working out daily and keeping my mind at ease, with only one thing in mind—how to get back on the field."
Ramirez' agent, Hector Zepeda Jr., confirmed his client's interest in returning to the diamond during a conversation with Rob Bradford of WEEI.com.
"I believe the Lord has sent him a message leading him to say, 'Let me try and see if I can get back into the game,'" Zepeda said.
Zepeda also said one CPBL team has expressed interest in acquiring Ramirez, though not until midseason.
The CPBL season began on April 11, and the regular season is expected to stretch until October 14, placing midseason in mid-July.
Ramirez played in the bigs from 1993-2011, making 12 All-Star teams, winning nine Silver Slugger awards and functioning as an integral part on the World Series champion Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007. He finished his career with 555 home runs and a .996 OPS.