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Manny Ramirez is Back!

By Andrew Goodman

The Texas Rangers announced yesterday that they have signed Manny Ramirez to a minor league contract. The team is expected to activate Ramirez after a few days of working out with the AAA Round Rock (Texas) Express. However, the question on every baseball fans' mind is simple – Will Manny continue being Manny?

Ramirez has not played in the majors since April of 2011, when he played five games as part of the Tampa Bay Rays. However, after being dealt a 100-game suspension for failing a test for performance enhancing drugs (PEDs), Ramirez retired rather than serve the suspension. In December of the same year, his appeal reduced the suspension to only 50 games, which Manny agreed to serve. He then signed a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics before the 2012 season, but never saw a pitch in the majors.

Although Manny hasn't been Manny in the United States, he recently took his talents oversees. Ramirez signed a half year contract with the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Manny just finished up his time in China, and put up amazing numbers! As the designated hitter (DH), Ramirez batted .352 with eight homers, 13 doubles and 43 RBIs. He certainly got on base a lot, with an OBP of .422 and he was still slugging away like the Manny of late, with a slugging percentage of .555. These numbers are not far off from him career numbers in the majors, as Manny is a lifetime .312 hitter with a .411 and .555 on-base and slugging percentage.

Ramirez has proved that he is nothing but a phenomenal baseball player. While he will never be a Hall of Famer due to PED usage, his tainted numbers are still impressive. Ramirez was a 12-time All-Star and ranks 14th on the all-time home runs list with 555. Ramirez won two World Series with the Red Sox, and was named the World Series MVP in 2004. In that same year, Ramirez led the majors in home runs with 43. This is the Manny Ramirez that baseball fans know and love, but it is hard to love a player who took PEDs.

While many questioned the move by the Rangers to sign Ramirez, the Ranger general manager Jon Daniels told reporters "We know on and off the field the good and the bad in Manny's career. We're inclined to give him an opportunity here. When it comes to playing for the Rangers, two things are critical to us. One, obviously, you have to be talented and productive, and, just as important, you've got to fit our winning culture here in Arlington and throughout our organization." Giving second chances is nothing new to the Rangers, as they've done so quite a few times in the team's history. Daniels then went on to say "If he's productive and we feel he'll fit our culture in the clubhouse, we'll give him an opportunity... ...If either of those ends don't pan out, kind of no harm, no foul."

One person who seems excited about signing Manny is Rangers All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler, who called Ramirez "one of the greatest right-handed hitters of all-time." While I may not agree with Kinsler, it shows that the Rangers are anxious to get Manny into the game.

How do you feel about the Rangers signing Ramirez? Do you think it was a good move, or should they not have pursued Manny at all? Please share your thoughts. Comment below!