Should MLB credit Manny Ramirez with time served?

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If Manny Ramirez hadn’t been stupid enough to file retirement papers when he learned he was getting slapped with a 100-game PED suspension back in April, he would have been eligible to resume playing in the majors last month.  That’s not to say anyone would have taken him — the Rays almost certainly would have released him, and it’s doubtful anyone would have been quick to pick him up — but eligibility wouldn’t have been an issue.

So, now Manny says he wants to play in the Dominican Republic, serve his 100-game ban and potentially return to the majors.  Those last two things are new, but he was talking back in late April about playing winter ball, and no one from the commissioner’s office stepped up then and shot the idea down.  It’s only now, with training camp opening in four days, that MLB has said Ramirez can’t play for Aguilas Cibaenas.

MLB doesn’t owe Ramirez any favors.  He’s flaunted the rules and got busted twice.  If he’s found cheating again, he’d get a well deserved lifetime ban.

The second suspension, though, isn’t supposed to be a lifetime ban.  Only that’s what it is if MLB decides to enforce it now.  Ramirez wouldn’t be able to play this winter, and he’d have to sit out until mid-July next year.  His career would almost certainly be over at that point.

Which leaves me wondering if there’s some room for compromise here.  Can filing those retirement papers when he wasn’t sure he was done by looked at as just another Manny-being-Manny moment?  How about giving him partial credit for all of the time he’s already missed?  Ban him for the first 20 games of the Dominican Winter League season and the first 20 games of next year, though allow him to play in the minors during that time if he’s able to find some team willing to take him off?  Ramirez will still have paid a fair price, and maybe he’ll still have a chance to go out on a better note.

I’m not saying that’s the way to go.  I’m not feeling particularly charitable to Ramirez right now.  I’m mostly interested in what everyone else thinks.

Angels fire back at Rob Manfred’s comments re: Mike Trout

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren
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Angels outfielder Mike Trout‘s marketability has been a topic of conversation in recent days as the best players in baseball converged upon Washington, D.C. for the All-Star Game. We learned that, according to one firm that measures consumer appeal of personalities, Trout is as recognizable to the average American as Brooklyn Nets reserve forward Kenneth Faried, despite being far and away the best player in baseball and one of the greatest players ever to play the game.

Commissioner Rob Manfred also addressed Trout’s marketability, Gabe Lacques of USA TODAY Sports reported. Manfred said, “Mike has made decisions on what he wants to do, doesn’t want to do, how he wants to spend his free time or not spend his free time. I think we could help him make his brand very bug. But he has to make a decision to engage. It takes time and effort.”

The Angels fired back on Wednesday, releasing a statement that said:

On behalf of the Angels Organization and baseball fans everywhere, congratulations to Mike Trout on another outstanding All-Star Game performance.

Mike Trout is an exceptional ambassador for the game. Combined with his talent, his solid character creates a perfect role model for young people everywhere. Each year, Mike devotes a tremendous amount of his time and effort contributing to our Organization, and marketing Major League Baseball. He continually chooses to participate in the community, visiting hospitals, schools, and countless other charities. One of Mike’s traits that people admire most is his humility. His brand is built upon generously spending his time engaging with fans, both at home and on the road, while remaining a remarkable baseball player and teammate.

In addition, Mike spends quality time as a husband, son, brother, uncle, and friend. We applaud him for prioritizing his personal values over commercial self-promotion. That is rare in today’s society and stands out as much as his extraordinary talent.

It’s not on Trout to build a brand that appeals to MLB’s marketing department, so the Angels are right to back Trout’s decision to stay out of the limelight. The Angels’ motivation likely isn’t entirely selfless, however, as supporting him in this situation may make it more enticing for him to sign a contract extension before his current contract expires after the 2020 season.