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.

Manoah, Merrifield lead Blue Jays to 3-1 win over Rays

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Alek Manoah pitched seven shutout innings, Whit Merrifield hit a three-run homer and the Toronto Blue Jays regained the top AL wild-card spot with a 3-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday night.

The Blue Jays lead Tampa Bay by one game. The top wild card finisher will host all games in their best-of-three opening-round series, while the other two wild cards play strictly on the road.

Manoah (15-7) scattered four hits, walked two and struck out eight while throwing a season-high 113 pitches. The righty worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the sixth by striking out Randy Arozarena and getting a flyout from David Peralta.

Jordan Romano replaced Tim Mayza with two on and two outs in the eighth and allowed pinch-hitter Harold Ramirez‘s RBI infield single but avoided further damage by striking out Manuel Margot. Romano finished the game to get his 35th save in 41 chances.

Tampa Bay starter Drew Rasmussen (10-7) gave up one run, three hits and two walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out five.

The teams combined for 31 runs, with the Rays accounting for 20, in the first two games of the series that were both won by Tampa Bay.

Arozarena got the Rays’ first hit off Manoah with a two-out double in the fourth. He became the first Tampa Bay player and 20th big leaguer to have 40 doubles, 20 homers and 30 stolen bases in a season.

Teoscar Hernandez ended Rasmussen’s night with a double in the seventh. Brooks Raley entered and, after a walk to pinch-hitter Danny Jansen, Merrifield made it 3-0 on his 10th homer of the season.

Merrifield homered twice in Thursday night’s 10-5 loss to the Rays.

Alejandro Kirk opened the second with a single before Rasmussen retired 12 in a row until Merrifield’s leadoff double in the sixth.

Plate umpire Corey Blaser took a hard foul ball by Margot on the mask in the eighth but remained in the game.

HONORING KK

The Rays posted a thank you on the message board for CF Kevin Kiermaier, who is out for the season following left hip surgery. Kiermaier is in the final season of a $53.5 million, six-year contract that includes a club option for 2023 that is expected to be declined.

TEAM AWARDS

Rays ace Shane McClanahan was voted the Don Zimmer MVP award winner by members of the Tampa Bay chapter of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. CF Jose Siri was selected as the outstanding rookie. 3B Yandy Diaz received the Paul C. Smith Champions award as the player who best exemplifies the spirit of true professionalism on and off the field.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Blue Jays: RHP Nate Pearson (lat strain) allowed three runs and three hits over two-thirds of an inning for Triple-A Buffalo.

Rays: 2B Brandon Lowe (lower back) is done for the season.

UP NEXT

McClanahan (12-6), pulled from his start Tuesday in the fifth inning due to neck tightness, will face Blue Jays RHP Ross Stripling (8-4) on Sunday.