Bizarre report: Manny Ramirez might play winter ball

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ESPNDeportes.com’s Enrique Rojas has a report up presenting text messages from Manny Ramirez saying he’s interested in playing winter ball in his native Dominican Republic for the Aguilas Cibaenes.

The odd thing is that text messages were actually written more than two weeks ago, and Rojas gives no indication of whom they happened to be addressed to.

According to Rojas, Ramirez wrote the following text messages on April 11 and 12 respectively:

“Now I have an Aguilas hat.”
“Tell the fans to not despair because winter ball is coming soon.”

Rojas, though, did manage to get a direct quote from Ramirez on Thursday, saying “Now I’m getting ready to defend the 21st crown of the Aguilas.”

If Ramirez opted to return to MLB following his winter ball stint, he’d still presumably have to serve a 100-game drug suspension. Realistically, he’d only have the slightest chance of drawing minimal interest next spring if he got some team to do him a favor and sign him now, allowing him to serve the suspension over the rest of this season.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Free-agent ace Jacob deGrom and the Texas Rangers agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner leaves the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened by injuries.

After making his first start last season in early August, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then opted out of his contract to become a free agent.

Texas announced the signing Friday night after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

“We are thrilled that Jacob deGrom has decided to become a Texas Ranger,” executive vice president and general manager Chris Young said in a statement. “Over a number of seasons, Jacob has been a standout major league pitcher, and he gives us a dominant performer at the top of our rotation. One of our primary goals this offseason is to strengthen our starting pitching, and we are adding one of the best.”

Texas went 68-94 last season and then hired Bruce Bochy as its new manager. The Rangers’ six straight losing seasons are their worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

The Rangers were big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).