I’m not going to spend very much time writing about this because it just isn’t worth it, but breaking news came out this afternoon that Manny Ramirez has retired quit.

MLB released a statement stating that the league notified Ramirez of an issue with the drug policy, something he is very familiar with, and he abruptly decided to quit instead of facing a 100-game suspension since this would have been his second positive test.

Basically he took his ball and went home. It’s not really surprising with how the tail end of Manny’s career went. He wasn’t really helping the Rays so far this season as he was just 1-for-16 with four strikeouts. Tough break for Tampa Bay, but they knew the risk when they signed him to a one-year, $2 million contract.

Manny pretty much quit with the Red Sox when he showed his displeasure with his contract situation by not running out ground balls and possibly bringing his game down to intentionally not produce until he was traded to the Dodgers. That whole mess of a situation along with his suspensions clearly shows Manny had no respect for the game of baseball. His latest move of quitting six games into the season is a joke, but one where no one should be surprised.

His numbers will always be up for talk on the Hall of Fame discussion, but my guess is he will not get into the Hall considering the voters set a precedent with being linked to steroids with McGwire and since Manny was suspended for it in his career, they won’t allow him in.

The bottom line is the game of baseball is a lot better off without Manny Ramirez. Good riddance.


Don’t look now, but pitchers and catchers report next week! With the start of spring training right around the corner, I thought we’d take a look at some of the prominent free agents who will be changing uniforms this year…

The Yankees are having a bit of a rough offseason. They lost out on ace Cliff Lee at the last minute to the Phillies, their longtime steady All-Star pitcher Andy Pettitte decided to retire and then they were raked over the coals by Derek Jeter to sign him to an extension. Meanwhile, the Red Sox went out and brought in a ton of talent mainly Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Bobby Jenks to name a few.

So what did the Yanks do to compensate? Well besides locking up Rivera and Rafael Soriano for their bullpen, they went out and signed Andruw Jones, Bartolo Colon, Mark Prior and now Eric Chavez. These pickups would have been great if the year was 2004 and not 2011. Three of these deals are minor league deals, but wow could they be anymore desperate for starting pitching. If one of the following, Colon-Prior-Chavez, stick I would be shocked.

Rays sign some idiots
The Rays reunited outfielders Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez from their days in Boston, signing them both two one-year deals. Both players are winding down their careers and are not the same players they once were, but it will be interesting to see how their veteran presence will be on a young team that lost Crawford, Garza and Soriano in the offseason. They don’t have the power they used to process as Manny hit nine total compared to Damon’s eight last year. If one of the two can rebound from a mediocre 2010, it’ll pay dividends for Tampa.

Rangers give six years to Beltre
Texas used the money saved for Cliff Lee to pickup Adrian Beltre in a six-year, $96M deal. Didn’t the Rangers learn their lesson on the A-Rod deal that strapped them for years down the road. Beltre had a sterling season last year (.321/.365/.553), there’s no doubt about that. But it was a big improvement from 2009 when he struggled with the Mariners. Plus, Beltre will be 32 in early April, and I’m not so sure giving a 32-year-old with Beltre’s track record a six-year deal is a great idea. Besides the Rangers need pitching, not hitting at this point.

Dunn to White Sox
Adam Dunn signed with the Chi Sox for a four-year, $56MM deal. Dunn’s a player that has hit an average of 40.3 home runs each year since 2004. Now, he moves to an extreme home run hitter’s park in Chicago at the age of 31, Dunn may absolutely rake in the lineup that features Paul Konerko and Carlos Quentin.

Quick hits:

Vlad and Lee sign with the Orioles: Minus the postseason, Vladimir Guerrero had a terrific 2010 season with the Rangers, hitting .300/.345/.496 with 29 home runs. His decline in the postseason is a worry for the O’s, but I think Vlad will at least be productive this year though not to 2010’s standards. As for Derrek Lee, he will be looking for a bounce back year in new scenery in Baltimore after seeing his home run total drop from 35 in 2009 to 19 in 2010, including just three dingers after being dealt to Atlanta in August.

Matsui lands in Oakland: Hideki Matsui ended up being one of the most consistent producers for the Angels last year and should provide some much-needed power and experience for the A’s in 2011. If he stays healthy, 20-25 home runs shouldn’t be a problem.

Cubs land Pena: Along with upgrading their rotation with a trade for Garza, the Cubs signed Pena to a one-year, $10MM deal. Pena will provide some power the Cubs need, but I don’t care how many home runs he hits, he better cut down some strikeouts and improve that .198 average.

Javier Vazquez returns to the NL: Vazquez is coming off probably his worst season in the majors since his rookie year. He posted a 5.32 ERA while his strikeouts decreased and his walks went up with the Yanks. Signing a one-year, $7MM deal with Florida, he hopes to turn some magic back in the NL where he’s been extremely more effective throughout his 13-year career.

Next up on the list on my picture series from last season is Opening Day when I ventured down to my hometown ballpark to watch the Pirates battle the Dodgers on April 5, 2010.

Duke vs. Manny - Opening Day 2010

As you can see from the picture, I was able to capture the ball in-flight for a marquee matchup between Pirates starter Zach Duke versus Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez. Duke was effective enough through five innings of work to pick up the victory in a Pirates 11-5 blowout.

Garrett Jones blasted two home runs, leading me to proclaim that he was on pace to hit 324 bombs for the year. Obviously, he fell well short of that mark and ended up with a total of 21 big flys on the year. As for Duke, it was his last Opening Day as a member of the Pirates after being dealt to Arizona in November. Manny only played part of the season with Los Angeles after he was signed off waivers by the White Sox in August.

But for one golden afternoon, the Pirates had it all. Home runs, effective pitching, a blowout victory, as perfect weather that you could ask for in April in Western Pennsylvania and I ran into Franco Harris on the concourse after the game. All in all, it was a spectacular day.

I remember listening to the Buccos faithful on the radio during the drive home and them stating that this year would be different and the losing would finally end.

Ah, you have to love Opening Day.