Why the Rangers signed Manny Ramirez - without watching him in person

Thursday July 4th, 2013

Manny Ramirez may come back to the big leagues after all after signing a minor league deal with Texas. [AFP/Getty Images] Manny Ramirez signed a minor league deal with Texas. [AFP/Getty Images]

The Rangers made sure Ramirez specifically agreed to several conditions before they signed him. Those rules include making sure his hair is cut to a length above his shoulders, wearing uniform pants that don’t look like pajama pants, running hard on balls hit into play and showing up on time for early work and stretching. Ramirez agreed to all conditions without protest.

So why would Texas take any risk on Ramirez? It’s essentially costs them nothing (with the exception of bad PR) to see if Ramirez has anything left to offer. Hitting coach Dave Magadan and public relations director John Blake both offered GM John Daniels scouting reports on Ramirez from their time with him in Boston – both the upside and downside. Daniels decided it was worth the low risk.

The Rangers rank ninth out of 15 American League teams in OPS from designated hitters, as Lance Berkman has struggled to generate power because of a sore knee. The offense could use a boost. Ramirez may or may not be the answer, but the Rangers are simply buying themselves a look at Ramirez in the minors to see what he has to offer. If he can still hit, Ramirez eventually may find his way into the lineup of manager Ron Washington, an expert at getting the best out of players with checkered pasts.

“I don’t think it’s an accident that guys like Josh Hamilton and Milton Bradley had their best years in our clubhouse with Wash,” Daniels said. “If Manny is productive with the bat and we have a spot for him, Wash with get out of him whatever he’s got.”

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.