Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman is remains on the disabled list, but they still weren’t impressed enough by Manny Ramirez to give him a shot in the majors and instead have released the 41-year-old from Triple-A.
Ramirez hit .259 with three homers and a .698 OPS in 30 games for Round Rock, including a measly .282 slugging percentage in 22 games since the All-Star break.
As general manager Jon Daniels explained to reporters in announcing the move: “Based on our evaluation, there was not a spot on the club for Manny at this time.” And since “this time” for a 41-year-old tends to be as good as things are ever going to be again, it’s probably safe to say the door is shut on Ramirez’s big-league career.
Ramirez has obviously become a sideshow recently, but if he’s done he finishes as a .312 career hitter with 555 homers and 1,329 walks in 2,302 games for the ninth-best OPS in baseball history. Laugh all you want, but the guy was an absolute monster for 15 seasons.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.