Manny Ramirez will leave the EDA Rhinos after honoring his contract to play the first half of the season, the Rhinos said in a press release yesterday afternoon.
While the decision may be come as a surprise to baseball fans around the nation, those familiar with the Rhinos’ operations and their original intention to sign the former major league MVP had expected Ramirez’s decision, with several teams in Japan showing interest in securing his services.
“We regret [Ramirez’s] decision to leave Taiwan, but we would also like to wish him all the best for what he has brought to us and to the prosperity for baseball in Taiwan,” EDA officials said in the press release.
Ramirez’s spot on the EDA roster will be taken by lefty hurler Jesse English of the US, who pitched for the Washington Nationals briefly in 2010, before being released later in the same year.
The announcement of Ramirez’s departure officially ended a month of negotiations between the Rhinos’ front office and Ramirez, who had verbally committed to the Rhinos to play out this month and finish all of the make-up games for the team before making a final decision on his future.
During the 49 games that Ramirez played in Taiwan, the Dominican native batted an outstanding .352 with 43 RBIs and eight home runs, placing him in the top-three of all of the major offensive statistical categories.
Apart from his accomplishments on the field, Ramirez also brought an amazing amount of enthusiasm for the league that had been missing for years.
He is commonly considered the single individual to have done the most to revitalize the game in Taiwan after several “down seasons” that the league had suffered due to game-fixing allegations and other off-the-field troubles.
The Rhinos did not let Ramirez leave without putting up a fight, giving the slugger several unspecified raises from his original NT$700,000 monthly salary and providing him and his uncle housing in the Chairman Suite at the five-star EDA World Crowne Plaza, a hotel affiliated with the EDA enterprise.
However, Ramirez wishes to be closer to his family, as his short stint in Asia was his first in a 20-plus year career.
Ramirez is expected to leave Taiwan tomorrow.