- Eric Karabell, ESPN.com Senior Writer
On July 22, a few days after play resumes following the All-Star break, the Texas Rangers are scheduled to host the New York Yankees on ESPN. On Wednesday, I discussed Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez being on the mend from hip surgery, and how he's targeting that date to rejoin the team. Now we have another generational slugger potentially in play by then as well, because while you were planning your Independence Day festivities, the Rangers signed the eager Manny Ramirez to a minor league deal. Yeah, that Manny Ramirez. What is this, 2005? Ramirez, though, is not hurt and he had been playing well in Asia, and wow, July 22 could be its own day of fireworks.
Andrew Woolley/Four Seam Images/AP Images
Manny Ramirez's previous action in the United States was a brief stint with the Athletics' Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento last year.
I’m a bit more skeptical in Ramirez contributing to the Rangers and fantasy owners than I am on Rodriguez, but not so much that I’d simply dismiss the possibility of relevance. After all, I’m not really buying the awful numbers the previous time Ramirez played in the majors, for the 2011 Tampa Bay Rays. He hit one single in 17 at-bats in five games. It’s hardly a fair sample size, ended prematurely by a pending suspension for testing positive for elevated testosterone, and I’m not going to speculate about what was or currently is in the player’s body. I do know that the year before, Ramirez posted a .870 OPS -- for comparison, there are only 22 current qualified hitters with an OPS that strong -- with most of the good stuff for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and then mainly singles and walks for the Chicago White Sox. I don’t care much what his numbers were for Taiwan’s EDA Rhinos, frankly, but they were good enough for the contending Rangers to be interested.