MLB ruined Manny Ramirez’s plans to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic by pointing out that retiring in April rather than serving a 100-game suspension means he’s banned from participating in all MLB-affiliated leagues.
Instead of just playing in a league that has nothing to do with MLB or actually retiring Ramirez told Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes that he’ll formally request reinstatement and is willing to serve the 100-game suspension in order to return to the big leagues. Seriously:
I would comply with my pending sanction and I would be available for any major league team. I already informed Scott Boras of my decision to return and begin the process. If any team wants to sign me, I would play. If no one does, I would look to play in Japan or any other place. I was not prepared for retirement.
I’ll bet Scott Boras loved getting that call.
There’s no “if” about whether or not any MLB teams want to sign Ramirez. They don’t, particularly since he’s a 39-year-old who hasn’t played since April and would have to sit out the first 100 games next season anyway.
Manny being Manny in Japan has some hilarious possibilities, though.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.