Is this what baseball has come to? That a player suspended for 50 games because of PED use decided to do it again, and when he had another positive test, retired rather than face further investigation?â†µâ†µ
That's apparently exactly what's happened this afternoon, as Manny Ramirez has told the Tampa Bay Rays, for whom he played five games this year and went 1-for-17, that he is going to retire from baseball rather than go through the process that MLB mandates for these sorts of things. The Rays said in a statement, "We are obviously surprised and disappointed by this news. We will have no further comment on this matter."â†µâ†µ
It's really too bad. At his peak, Manny was arguably the best hitter in the major leagues. He finished in the top ten of MVP voting eight straight years and helped lead both the Indians and Red Sox to multiple playoff appearances, not to mention helping to dismantle the Cubs in the 2008 division series after he landed with the Dodgers in midseason that year.â†µâ†µ
But after his return, he was waived and claimed by the White Sox just before the August 31 deadline for qualifying for the playoffs last year. Sox GM Kenny Williams thought Manny could help put them over the top and into the postseason. Instead, Manny hit a pedestrian .261/.420/.319 with one home run in 88 PA for the Sox and they finished second.â†µâ†µ
Manny retires with 555 career home runs and a career .996 OPS. No one with numbers like that has been denied Hall of Fame entry. We'll see how the writers react to him, six years from now.