“Major League Baseball recently notified Manny Ramirez of an issue under Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment program. Rather than continue with the process under the program, Ramirez has informed MLB that he is retiring as an active player. If Ramirez seeks reinstatement in the future, the process under the drug program will be completed. MLB will not have any further comment on this matter.”
Michael Schmidt of the New York Times reports that people with knowledge of the matter said Manny has tested positive for a PED during spring training (though the MLB has not stated he has tested positive), and Manny has thus chosen to retire instead of taking a 100-game suspension.
As a Rays fan, this is obviously even bigger news to me than to general baseball fans. Manny was supposed to fill our DH hole reasonably well, and we got him at the bargain barrel price of $2 million. He had started off the season mired in a slump, but he did have a great spring training (though apparently we now know why). Plus, Manny wouldn’t have stayed in that slump for much longer, as he would soon regress back to the mean (i.e. his hitting would improve back to his normal line).
This is a blow to an already spotty start for the 0-6 Rays who also won’t have Longoria back for another couple weeks. Losing your 3 and 4 hitters at the same time is tough to overcome, but I think the game-plan now is to move Johnny Damon to the DH spot and put either Sam Fuld, who’s been excelling so far this season, or top prospect Desmond Jennings into the LF position. Neither of those two are as good offensively as Manny is, but you do what you can. The Rays have also promoted 1B Casey Kotchman to fill Manny’s vacated spot on the roster.