Manny Ramirez signs a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers

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It’s on like Donkey Kong. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports that The Rangers have signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal:

According to a major league source, the club has agreed to a deal with 41-year-old Manny Ramirez on a minor league deal. Ramirez, who recently left a Taiwanese team to give himself another shot at returning to the majors for the first time since 2011, will report to Triple-A Round Rock. Rangers club officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Ramirez raked in Taiwan, finishing his short stint there near the top of the league in batting average, homers, RBIs and walks. He was also a tremendous gate and television attraction. Ironically, interest in Manny Ramirez helped save baseball in Taiwan following a series of scandals in that country’s league.

But Taiwan is generally considered to be on-par with, maybe, single-A ball. In 2012 he struggled in Triple-A for the Athletics and then was released after 17 games. He has not played in the majors since a short, unsuccessful stint with the Rays in 2011 which ended with a drug suspension. His 2010 season was marred by another drug suspension. It’s kinda doubtful that he’s going to be a real contributor to a major league team, let alone a good one like the Rangers.

But now, the odds against him be damned, he has a chance to make it back to the bigs. And we all get to take the ride with Manny one more time.

Red Sox owner: “spending money helps”

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The other day Rob Manfred said, as he and other owners have said often in the past, that there is no correlation between payroll and winning. He said that defensively, in response to criticism of the slow free agent market of the past two offseasons.

As we have noted in the past, Manfred is not being honest about that. While, yes, in any given year there can be wild variation between payroll and win total — the Giants stunk last year, the A’s won 97 games — common sense dictates otherwise. What’s more, a recent study has shown that there is a pretty strong correlation between winning and payroll over time. Yes, you can fluke into a big season with a low payroll — Deadspin compared it to a cold snap occurring during a time of climate change — but if you want that “sustained success” teams claim they want, the best way to ensure it is to spend more money over time.

If you know anything about baseball labor history, though, you know well that the Commissioner and the owners will continue to mischaracterize the dynamics of the business as it suits them. Mostly because — present lefty sportswriters notwithstanding — very few people push back on their narratives. Fans tend to parrot ownership’s line on this stuff and, more often than not, baseball media acts as stenographer for ownership as opposed to critic. That gives owners a far greater ability to shape the narrative about all of this than most institutions.

Which makes this all the more awkward. From David Schoenfield of ESPN:

In apparent contradiction to his own commissioner, Boston Red Sox owner John Henry said Monday that, while there is not a perfect correlation between a bigger payroll and winning, “spending more money helps.”

Which is right. The correlation is not perfect — teams can spend a lot of money on a bad team if given the chance and a low payroll team like the Rays can bullpen their way to 90 wins — but you’re way more likely to win year-in, year-out if you’re spending than if you go cheap all the time and hope for a miracle season.

Which is not to say that Henry is some labor activist owner. He and his fellow front office officials have a long history of backing the league office on just about everything that matters and will no doubt do so with labor matters in the runup to the next CBA negotiation. The owners tend not to have a solidarity problem.

But Henry does seem to draw the line at peddling baloney, which is a shockingly necessary thing when the league and the union’s relationship turns acrimonious.