Manny Ramirez is predictably still looking for work after MLB reduced his suspension from 100 games to 50 games and Buster Olney of ESPN.com reports that he plans to hold a workout for MLB teams later this month.
Last offseason Ramirez signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Rays, only to retire after five games when his 100-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs was announced.
Considering how limited his market was last winter and the fact that he hasn’t played since April it’s tough to imagine Ramirez getting a big-league deal at age 40, and at this point he may have a hard time convincing a team he’s worth a minor-league deal.
Ramirez’s last full season was 2010 and he hit .298 with 19 homers and a .949 OPS in 104 games for the Dodgers and White Sox. Under normal circumstances that would be enough to make him worth a low-cost flier, even at age 40, but because it’s Ramirez the over/under for teams attending his workout is probably around 2.5 (depending on how many scouts in the area are curious and/or bored that day).
I hope you don’t have any plans tonight at around 10PM Eastern time, because that’s when we get a pitching matchup for the ages as Max Scherzer will take on Clayton Kershaw at Dodger Stadium. When they meet tonight it will be the first time two pitchers with three or more Cy Young Awards have matched up since 2006. That year, and in 2005 and 2000, Roger Clemens faced Greg Maddux. In 2001 Clemens faced Pedro Martinez.
Kershaw won his hardware in 2011, 2013 and 2014, with an MVP award in 2014 to boot. Scherzer collected trophies in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Each has started the 2018 season in Cy Young form. Kershaw is 1-2, but that record is due to poor run support. He has a 1.73 ERA and has struck out 31 batters and has walked only three in 26 innings. Scherzer is 3-1 with a 1.33 ERA and a whopping 38 strikeouts to only 4 walks in 27 innings.
This will be the third time that Kershaw and Scherzer faced each other if you include the playoffs. The first meeting was a decade ago when both were rookies. They most recently faced off in Game 1 of the 2016 NLDS, way back when Scherzer only had one Cy Young Award to his credit. Kershaw beat Scherzer in that playoff game and the Dodgers beat Scherzer’s teams in the two regular season matchups, with neither guy setting the world on fire. As so often happens in baseball, the hype hasn’t been matched by reality.
Still, there’s always a chance it will. And even if, in the end, this turns into a slugfest, the first couple of innings should at least give us some hope of something good. I’ll be watching.