Manny Ramirez now more about God than baseball

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It’s been all quiet on the Manny front since the slugger asked for his release from a minor league contract with the A’s in June. Rather than trying to find another job, he took his bat and went home to Florida, and he’s been pretty much unheard from since.

USA TODAY’s Jorge L. Ortiz managed to track Ramirez down this week and talk to him at his home outside of Miami. He found a Ramirez more interested in God than getting back into baseball.

“I feel good. My family’s good,” Ramirez said. “Thanks to God, I have a peace I’d never had. I have an incredible peace.”

Today marks the first anniversary of Ramirez’s arrest and battery charge following a domestic disturbance involving his wife, Juliana. The charge was later dropped due to Juliana’s lack of cooperation, and husband and wife are currently living together with their two sons. Ramirez is still working out and hitting in a cage, but being a father is taking precedent for now.

“Sometimes I miss [baseball],” Ramirez said, “but I try to fill that void by taking my kids to their basketball games, their baseball games, taking them everywhere.”

Ramirez has no plans to go play in the Dominican Republic this winter. He hasn’t ruled out another comeback next year, but it sure does sound like he’s finished.

Phillies owner John Middleton is in Las Vegas with Bryce Harper

Bryce Harper
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Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.

Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.

As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.