Manny Ramirez: Role Model

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - Designated hitter Manny Ramirez #24 of the Tampa Bay Rays bats against the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Manny Ramirez is looking for a job. He says he's changed! Teams are now lining up around the block to have him mentor their best young players.

Manny Ramirez wants another shot. He was supposed to be the big thumper in the Rays' lineup last year, but you know how it is. You're at a party, things are flowing pretty well, someone passes around a bottle of women's fertility drugs, and the next thing you know you're retired. Let he who is without sin cast the first stone, right? And now Manny's on the comeback trail, which means there's going to be a PR campaign.

"I want to show people that Manny can change, that he can do the right thing," Ramirez told ESPN's Pedro Gomez in an interview. "And to show people that I still can play. I don't want to leave the game like I did. I also want to show my kids that if you make a mistake, don't quit. Just go back and fix it. And if you're going to leave, leave the right way."

You have to give him this much: He's not doing it for the money. He's openly willing to play for the league minimum. He's a baseball lifer who gazed into the abyss of inactivity and freaked out. He was considering going to Japan for a while to get those baseball juices flowing. He just wants to play.

He also says that he wants to be a role model.

Ramirez, who's currently working out in Florida, taking swings in a batting cage and getting in shape by working out in a pool, believes he can be a role model if a team gives him a chance.

Oh.

Manny: So when you need to take a whiz, what happens when there's no Green Monster to climb into?

Prospect: Not sure.

Manny: You just need to find the portal in every wall.

Prospect: /scribbles notes

Manny: Every outfield fence has a portal. You just have to find its delicate and magical opening with your nimble fingers.

Prospect: /scribbles notes

Manny: Sometimes I run my cheek along the wall or fence. It's more sensitive to the indentations.

Prospect: /scribbles notes

The Manny Being Available idea would be extremely interesting -- strip away the baggage, and he's an interesting DH option at something close to the league minimum. But the biggest wrinkle in the idea of a Manny acquisition is that he still has to serve a suspension. He's lobbying to get it reduced to a 50-game suspension from 100 games, but it's still a chunk of time. Teams almost have to view him as a deadline pickup.

Who is 39.

Who would bring a media circus with him.

Who hasn't swung a bat against live pitching in a year.

Who quit on his last team rather than face a suspension for banned substances.

Other than that, he should be a no-brainer acquisition. If there's a precedent in history, it's with Barry Bonds, who couldn't find a job after putting up a .480 on-base percentage the season before. That's not a typo. .480. Bonds had more baggage, and his circus quotient was likely higher, but he also didn't have a suspension hanging over his head. No one bit.

Manny being Matthew -- that is, a completely different guy with different circumstances -- might make more sense than, say, Luke Scott for the Rays. But Manny being Manny is going to be a tough sell, no matter how much of a role model he can be.

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