Manny Ramirez Is The Anti-Yasiel Puig

If you were looking forward to seeing Manny Ramirez and Ron Washington in the same dugout, you'll be waiting for a while. Ten years ago, Ramirez was nearly traded to the Texas Rangers in a swap that would have sent Alex Rodriguez to Boston. That was a different time for both Manny and A-Rod. The juice has dried up in the past decade. The Texas Rangers could use him at DH with Lance Berkman out, but reviews of Ramirez in the minors have not been sterling.

via Yahoo Sports:

The Rangers signed the 41-year-old Ramirez to a minor league deal in early July after he spent the season's first two months playing for the EDA Rhinos of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Over 16 games, Ramirez has hit .250 with an on-base percentage barely over .300 and three home runs in 60 at-bats.

More important than the numbers are the quality of the plate appearances, and talent evaluators who have seen Ramirez are not filing reports that indicate he's anywhere close to resembling what he was before two performance-enhancing-drug-related suspensions helped jettison him from the game: one of the best right-handed hitters in major league history.

"This isn't Manny Ramirez," said one scout who recently saw Ramirez. "This is a 41-year-old still trying to play baseball and not doing it very well."

Ouch. Maybe he's way past his prime, but surely he can't be that much worse than the ageless Raul Ibanez? I have another theory. It's the dreadlocks, or the lack thereof, that's setting him back. Ramirez and the Texas Rangers are a modern day Sampson and Delilah. For one last shot at the majors, the Rangers asked him to sacrifice his dreads. He may have shaved his game away, as well. It sounds asinine, but is there a sport as superstitious as baseball?

Sorry for getting all philosophical, but if it's not the razor, it may be Occam's razor. The simplest answer may be the correct one. A combination of advanced age, cycling off 'roids and getting readjusted to a new club could be constricting his production.

The guy hasn't played in the majors in two years. Conversely, if MLB was hesitant about making 22-year-old rookie Yasiel Puig an All-Star after one month in the majors, we should probably give a 41-year-old ex-MVP more than 16 games before issuing the verdict on his comeback bid. We'll see if the Rangers feel the same way if Nelson Cruz gets sent home for the season by Bud Selig.

It should be acknowledged that in 13 minor league appearances with the Charleston Riverdogs, Rodriguez is hitting a paltry 8-for-40, boasts a .200 batting average, belted two homers and has become persona non grata within his own organization. It could be worse for Ramirez. He could be A-Rod.