Manny Ramirez’s career with the Rays ends after 17 plate appearances, as he has decided to retire rather than submit to a 100-game suspension for violating baseball’s drug policy.
One of the game’s greatest personalities (and hitters) alike will end his stay with career totals of 2,574 hits, 555 home runs, and a slash line of .312/.411/.585. Ramirez’s other achievements include 12 All-Star game appearances and nine top-10 Most Valuable Player award voting finishes (though he never won the award). Ramirez will be remembered for his time in Cleveland and Boston, although he spent most of his final seasons in Los Angeles, with a brief cameo for the White Sox and an even briefer one with the Rays.
Most will recall that Ramirez was suspended for 50 games during the 2009 season for another violation, as he tested positive for hCG–a women’s fertility drug—that effects testosterone cycles. Initial reports suggest this latest failed test came during spring training and that Ramirez chose against appealing the process. It’s an unfortunate ending for many reasons, not the least of which is how his achievements will forever be questioned.
Ramirez reached base just once for the Rays, otherwise enduring a tough week. Ramirez’s final big league start included three strikeouts –the last of which drew boos from the Tropicana Field crowd. Joe Maddon decided to give him a personal day off that preceded another day off –this one for child custody matters. In the end, the deal that looked too good to be true was.
To replace Ramirez on the active roster, the Rays have purchased Casey Kotchman’s contract from Triple-A Durham. There is no word on exactly how the lineup will unfold, but imagination suggests they could place Johnny Damon in left field, Kotchman at first, and Dan Johnson at designated hitter, or, perhaps Sam Fuld in left, Damon at DH, and Johnson at first base.