We covered Manny Ramirez’s retirement from all angles here Friday, but I had one lingering question about the whole situation: Why did Ramirez retire rather than simply serve his impending 100-game suspension?
After all, if he served the suspension Ramirez could have conceivably returned to the Rays’ lineup in August and September. And even if the Rays wanted nothing to do with him, serving the suspension would at least get it out of the way should he somehow find another gig late this season or in 2012. Why not let the 100 games burn off just in case?
He wouldn’t have gotten paid during a suspension and forfeited his salary anyway by retiring, so perhaps Ramirez was informed of the coming suspension and basically just said, “Aw, screw it, I’m done.” And that certainly makes sense. By retiring he can also claim, technically, that he wasn’t suspended. For whatever that’s worth.
However, if Ramirez ever decides to make a comeback and beats the odds by actually convincing one of the 25 or so teams he hasn’t pissed off already to sign him, he’ll now have to sit out 100 games first. Which probably takes the odds of a comeback from 1 percent to .01 percent.
I understand the impulse of wanting to wash his hands of the entire situation and just be done with everything, but if the money is the same and the impact of not playing is the same, what is the upside of choosing immediate retirement over a 100-game suspension?
The Braves reportedly have a deal in place with free agent catcher Kurt Suzuki, per Chris Cotillo of SB Nation. FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal adds that the contract is for one year, $1.5 million with up to $2.5 million in additional incentives.
Suzuki, 33, completed a three-year track with the Twins in 2016, slashing .258/.301/.403 with eight home runs in 373 PA. The veteran backstop likely won’t provide an offensive or defensive upgrade over current starter Tyler Flowers, but should give the Braves some depth at a position they’ve been looking to strengthen since the start of the offseason.
The team has yet to confirm the deal.
With the 2017 World Baseball Classic around the corner, Team Israel has reportedly reached out to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi. Tournament rules stipulate that a player’s roster eligibility can be achieved in one of several ways: they were born in the country in question or hold citizenship/permanent legal residence there (or are simply capable of qualifying for citizenship), or one of their parents was born in the country or holds citizenship/permanent legal residence there.
For Kipnis, it’s the latter. Kipnis’ father, Mark Kipnis, is Jewish. That gives Kipnis the status he needs to suit up for Team Israel, despite the fact that he is a practicing Roman Catholic. He has yet to confirm or deny his participation in the competition.
Fifteen players have confirmed for Team Israel so far, including Mets’ infielder/outfielder Ty Kelly and free agents Sam Fuld, Nate Freiman, Jason Marquis and Jeremy Bleich. Per MLB.com’s Chad Thornburg, eight minor leaguers will also appear for the team. Like Kipnis, at least three other major leaguers are eligible for Team Israel’s roster but have yet to accept or decline involvement in the WBC: Dodgers center fielder Joc Pederson, Mariners infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia and free agent left-hander Craig Breslow.