Manny Ramirez may be eligible for election to the Hall of Fame this year, but that doesn't mean he's done playing baseball. In fact, Ramirez will be playing in 2017. On Sunday, Japan's Kochi Fighting Dogs of the Shikoku Island League announced that they've agreed to terms with Ramirez. The Fighting Dogs -- possibly an unfortunate nickname -- are an independent league team in Japan and not part of NPB.
Ramirez's wife also announced the news on social media ...
Ramirez, who will turn 45 on May 30 this year, hasn't played in affiliated ball since 2014, when he appeared in 24 games for the Cubs' Triple-A squad. He hasn't played in the majors since 2011, when he logged five games for the Rays before being hit with a 100-game suspension for his second violation of the the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. Ramirez retired from the major leagues in lieu of serving that suspension. He's since gone a long way toward reconstructing his image, particularly during a stint as a minor-league instructor for the Cubs.
Ramirez, of course, stands as one of the great right-handed hitters of all-time. Across parts of 19 major-league seasons, most of them with the Indians and Red Sox, Ramirez batted .312/.411/.585 with 555 home runs and more than 4,000 times on base. Given the level of competition he's likely to face in his upcoming stint, don't be surprised if he can still produce..