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Should MLB credit Manny Ramirez with time served?

Sep 22, 2011, 7:13 PM EDT

Manny Ramirez Reuters

If Manny Ramirez hadn’t been stupid enough to file retirement papers when he learned he was getting slapped with a 100-game PED suspension back in April, he would have been eligible to resume playing in the majors last month.  That’s not to say anyone would have taken him — the Rays almost certainly would have released him, and it’s doubtful anyone would have been quick to pick him up — but eligibility wouldn’t have been an issue.

So, now Manny says he wants to play in the Dominican Republic, serve his 100-game ban and potentially return to the majors.  Those last two things are new, but he was talking back in late April about playing winter ball, and no one from the commissioner’s office stepped up then and shot the idea down.  It’s only now, with training camp opening in four days, that MLB has said Ramirez can’t play for Aguilas Cibaenas.

MLB doesn’t owe Ramirez any favors.  He’s flaunted the rules and got busted twice.  If he’s found cheating again, he’d get a well deserved lifetime ban.

The second suspension, though, isn’t supposed to be a lifetime ban.  Only that’s what it is if MLB decides to enforce it now.  Ramirez wouldn’t be able to play this winter, and he’d have to sit out until mid-July next year.  His career would almost certainly be over at that point.

Which leaves me wondering if there’s some room for compromise here.  Can filing those retirement papers when he wasn’t sure he was done by looked at as just another Manny-being-Manny moment?  How about giving him partial credit for all of the time he’s already missed?  Ban him for the first 20 games of the Dominican Winter League season and the first 20 games of next year, though allow him to play in the minors during that time if he’s able to find some team willing to take him off?  Ramirez will still have paid a fair price, and maybe he’ll still have a chance to go out on a better note.

I’m not saying that’s the way to go.  I’m not feeling particularly charitable to Ramirez right now.  I’m mostly interested in what everyone else thinks.

  1. Lukehart80 - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:42 PM

    I’ve been a Manny apologist over the years, but he shouldn’t be given some sort of compromise here. If was going to want to play again, he should have served out the suspension. Instead, he chose to take a long vacation, allegedly do something pretty heinous to his wife, and then try to slide back into organized baseball when he felt like it.

    It’s not MLB’s fault or problem that the punishment for his second offense might in-effect be the end of his career.

  2. marshmallowsnake - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:43 PM

    No…they should not. Let him go away.

  3. The Baseball Idiot - Sep 22, 2011 at 7:54 PM

    Of course they should. Whether it was voluntary or not, he’s served his time. Guys like Manny are good for the game, if for no other reason to give the casual fan a reason to be interested.

    Let him play!!!!
    Let him play!!!!
    Let him play!!!!
    Let him play!!!! (fist pumps imagined)
    Let him play!!!!
    Let him play!!!!
    Let him play!!!!

    • frenchysplatediscipline - Sep 22, 2011 at 9:03 PM

      I am surprised this got so many thumbs down. I can’t stand Manny and would never defend him. However, Baseball Idiot is right – same premise as people slowing down to watch a car wreck on the freeway.

      That and why not let him come back anyway? You think Bonds heard it bad on the road? Wait til you see the outpouring of hate for this guy. And the creative signage in the crowd aimed at him would be entertaining enough…

      • Francisco (FC) - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:44 AM

        I absolutely HATE people who slow down to watch a car wreck on a freeway, now there’s traffic on BOTH sides. My usual rant against these people is: “Read about it in the paper you MORON!!!!”

    • jamie54 - Sep 22, 2011 at 9:11 PM

      Figures, with a name like your’s that comment fits.

  4. The Baseball Idiot - Sep 22, 2011 at 8:00 PM

    In my dreams, the Phillies sign Manny to a 3-year contract.

    This site might just implode.

  5. bigleagues - Sep 22, 2011 at 8:38 PM

    Manny deserved the suspension. Setting aside his personality quirks and his character flaws – I have to say that fair is fair. I’m now thinking that the Commissioners position is sounding somewhat arbitrary, but not entirely unreasonable.

    I’m not sure about this, but I believe you have to be active and under contract by a MLB team in order for time towards a suspension to count. I’m also not positive about this, but I don’t think there is much wiggle room (in other words I don’t think the suspension is negotiable).

    The chances of anyone signing Manny at his age with 100 Games to serve before he is eligible to play is about as certain as Tim Wakefield winning 20 Games next season.

    The Winter League regular season is 50 games.

    Personally, I don’t see any scenario where the CEO Selig negotiates with MaamRam unless a team went to bat for him in order to secure his services for at least a portion of next season.

    If, say, someone did go to bat for MaamRam, signing him to a 1-year minimum deal – then I could see a compromise of 25 Games being served in Winter League and the remaining 75 served at start of 2012 season. Or, perhaps 25 games credit for 2011 season, 25 games to be served in Winter League, leaving 50 to be served at the start of the 2012 season.

    But again I just can’t see anyone wanting to invest their time and resources in him at this point – even if they were only taking a $500,000 flyer on him being active for 2/3 of a season.

    • foreverchipper10 - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:47 AM

      I was thinking of something along those lines. If the winter season is 50 games (I did not know that so thanks for the info) then maybe if he “wants” to play winter ball MLB can let him start serving the suspension now. If he serves it on a roster for the full 50 games he could come back next year (if someone wants to sign him) and only have to serve the last 50 which is the same as a first time offender. He didn’t seem to mind sitting out when that happened to him in LA. I don’t know if Bud and his crew will allow that but it is food for thought.

  6. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 22, 2011 at 8:40 PM

    Ask Pete Rose how MLB feels about mulligans….

    Sometimes the rules are the rules for a reason. If they ARE going to bend the rules, it shouldn’t be excusing a second PED violation (which he never admitted or apologized for) for the guy facing a domestic violence charge. Being a dill hole shouldn’t get you extra privileges

  7. aaronmoreno - Sep 22, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Should they give criminals lesser sentences because they happen to be old?

    • The Baseball Idiot - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:10 AM

      Happens all the time.

  8. Charles Gates - Sep 22, 2011 at 9:10 PM

    Here’s a story I’m about to fabricate to prove a point:
    When I was a child, I ate some cookies before dinner even though my mother told me I couldn’t. So what? I got yelled at. No big deal. So, a short while later, I had some more cookies before dinner. I got caught again. My penalty was no TV for 2 weeks. But, it just so happened, the next two weeks were spent camping (without TV) on a family vacation. So when I got back home, I tried to watch a show, and my mother said that I hadn’t paid the price yet for eating the pre-dinner cookies. I still had to go without TV for 2 weeks even though I had already spent a fortnight without watching already.

  9. twinkydefense - Sep 22, 2011 at 9:19 PM

    Another nut case, Mr. Dan White of San Francisco, turned in his resignation papers in protest and then regretted it a few hours later. He asked his boss, mayor Moscone, if he could have his old job back, saying he acted in haste. When his boss refused, Mr. White became irate, downed 4 twinkies, and shot his boss dead. He also shot Supervisor Harvey Milk dead. In a bit of courtroom humor that did not go over very well with the judge, Mr. White said he shot Milk for good measure, since he always consumated his Twinkies by downing some milk. In a controversial verdict that led to the coining of the legal slang “Twinkie defense,” White was convicted of manslaughter rather than murder. White served his rather lenient “Twinkie defense” sentence of 5 years. Two years after that he committed suicide.

    Let Manny unretire, lest he down a carton of Twinkies and commit who knows what mayhem!

  10. slavetothetrafficlight - Sep 22, 2011 at 9:34 PM

    OK I guess I’ll play Manny’s advocate here. First off, MLB regulations do not carry the same gravitas as actual laws. To insist that they can never, under any circumstances, be amended or ignored in the interest of the game or common sense is silly. Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, and George Steinbrenner were all, at one time, on MLB’s permantly banned list.

    In choosing to recognize the spirit, rather than the letter, of the law, Manny must be credited for missing virtually the entire 2011 season – a season in which he clearly would have played had he not received the suspension.

    • presidentmiraflores - Sep 22, 2011 at 11:12 PM

      Let me see if I can understand this: Manny was given a punishment, decided to evade punishment by retiring, but now that he’s changed his mind and decided to unretire, we should count the time he spent in retirement as his being punished?

      How, exactly, does it benefit the game to bend the rules for a twice-caught cheater who has previously faked injuries, quit on a team, assaulted a team staff member, and was just released on bond for an assault arrest?

      This whole Dominican winter ball may be a fantasy, by the way, since the court may not allow him to spend all this time out of the country while he is out on bail.

  11. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:20 AM

    You said it yourself, if he wasn’t stupid enough to retire he could be playing right now. The MLB shouldn’t have to compensate someone’s lack of intelligence. The rules are the rules and Manny is going to have to play by them

  12. bigharold - Sep 23, 2011 at 12:35 AM

    “The second suspension, though, isn’t supposed to be a lifetime ban. ”

    Nor is it,,it;’s a 100 game ban, .. no more no less.. Where is the logic in allowing someone who has repeatedly broken the rules a break so that he can once again skirt the rules.

    Either there are consequences for violating the rules or there are not. How could MLB ever expect to reasonably enforce any rule if they allowed such an egregious high profile violation by such a high profile player?

  13. bigleagues - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:09 AM

    I want to amend my above statement . . . I think Manny would be great as the Yankees DH.

    Steinbrenners: make it happen.

  14. steve7921 - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    I am reading all of these comments and I really could care less if the Manny Show returns on not….

    My question is – what is the purpose of the 100 game suspension? He was signed and playing with a major league team and when he was informed of the violation, he “retired”. He missed over 100 games….over 100 “paychecks”… It wasn’t like he was not playing and they came out and said that he failed a test from last season.

    I am not really sure I understand MLB’s logic. What was the intent or purpose of the suspension? This would be like your Dad or Mom finding out that you ate those cookies but before they told you that you would not be allowed to watch TV for two weeks, you went and took the TV out of your room…..a couple of months later you decide that you want the TV back and your parents tell you that since you made the decision to not watch TV, that really doesn’t count and that since you now want to watch TV, the ban starts now! Manny has “served” a 100 plus game suspension.

    Again, I could care less if Manny returns….I really dont think any team will take him now anyways.

  15. dasher521 - Sep 23, 2011 at 1:15 PM

    Under no circumstances! As a prior post says, ask Pete Rose. Manny made his bed.

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