Former MLB star Manny Ramirez said yesterday he was “starting a new beginning” after signing a short-term contract to play with the EDA Rhinos in Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (CPBL).
The Rhinos said Ramirez, 40, would earn US$25,000 a month to appear with the team during this year’s March-November season.
Speaking at a news conference in the Rhinos’ hometown of Greater Kaohsiung, Ramirez said he felt “blessed” about the opportunity to play in Taiwan, where he will earn about one-100th of his salary during his MLB heyday.
“I don’t think about the money and contract,” he said. “I just think it is a great opportunity for me and the fans.”
Ramirez’s arrival in Taiwan is the latest stop in a 22-year career that has seen him morph from a promising hitter in the Cleveland Indians organization to a bona fide star with the Boston Red Sox, and a huge attraction with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago White Sox.
In 2004, he helped lead the Red Sox to their first world title since 1918, and was named the Most Valuable Player in the World Series.
His last major league appearance was with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011, where he went 1-17.
However, Ramirez has been dogged by serious problems off the field, earning lengthy bans for drug abuse in 2009 and 2011.
Last year, Ramirez hit .302 for Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate in Sacramento, California, but his contract was not renewed.