Manny to join local team if no MLB deal reached: report
By Joseph Yeh, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- Legendary Major League Baseball (MLB) slugger Manny Ramirez said that he will play for a professional team in Taiwan if he doesn't land a job in the big leagues by March 7, a foreign media outlet reported Tuesday.
February 28, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
The former Boston Red Sox outfielder told ESPN that he has reached a verbal agreement to play for the EDA Rhinos (義大犀牛) of the Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL, 中華職棒).
The deal, however, won't be finalized until March 7, which is the deadline for a final decision, he noted.
The 40-year-old said he is still seeking a Major League contract.
“I will play in Taiwan if I cannot get work in the U.S. by that deadline,” Ramirez said. “It will be a new experience, to experience another culture while I keep doing what I love and what I've done in all my life, playing baseball.”
Asked to confirm the report yesterday, a spokesperson of the EDA Rhinos yesterday told local media that the team was not aware of the March 7 deadline as pointed out by Ramirez.
But the team is ready to sign with the player once he has passed a medical check and drug test as a confirmation that he is healthy and ready to play in Taiwan, the spokesperson said.
US$25,000 Monthly Salary
The Taiwanese ball club previously said it is offering NT$750,000, or US$25,000, monthly salary to the ex-MLB All-Star, which is the highest monthly pay any team in the local league is giving to a foreign player.
Ramirez batted .312 with 555 homers and 1,831 RBIs in 19 MLB seasons before retiring from baseball in April 2011 after committing a second violation of MLB's drug policy.
Later in the same year, he signed a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics and served a 50-game penalty in Triple-A. But he became a free agent after Oakland didn't call him up to the majors midseason.
The future hall of famer's possible coming aboard to the CPBL could mean a major boost to the box office of the local league that has been losing fan support due to multiple game-fixing scandals over its 24-year history.
The Rhinos are a new team to the CPBL that took over the Sinon Bulls late last year.
The newcomer has already signed ex-Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Hu Chin-lung (胡金龍), who was the fifth player — and first infielder — in the MLB from Taiwan.
Manny Ramirez, of the Oakland Athletics, poses for a portrait during spring training photo day at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Phoenix, Arizona on Wednesday, Feb. 27.