Manny Ramirez is entering the final season of his two-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and it’s anyone’s guess where he’ll be at this time next spring.
The 37-year-old reported to the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Arizona on Monday, and made an interesting statement when he told reporters, “I know I’m not going to be here [next season].”
While this sounds like vintage Manny being Manny, if the 12-time All-Star is to be believed, the 2010 season might be his last.
According to the Los Angeles Times’ Dylan Hernandez via Twitter, Manny said that he will contemplate retirement next winter, and discuss his future with his family.
Ramirez previously considered opting out of a second full season with the Dodgers to pursue a return to the American League because he feared his legs could no longer handle the outfield. That’s especially significant since Manny played just 104 games for the Dodgers in 2009, due to a 50-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs that kept him off the field from May 6 through July 3.
Still, Ramirez was a tremendous asset at the plate for Joe Torre’s team, batting .290 with a .418 on-base percentage, .949 OPS and 19 home runs in 352 at-bats. Bill James predicts that Manny will improve upon those numbers in 2010, forecasting a .294 average and 30 homers.
If Manny achieves that lofty target, he’ll have a tough decision to make. Few players have the opportunity to go out on a high note after 18 seasons, yet even fewer players have the luxury of a designated-hitter role waiting for them at age 38.
When it comes to Manny’s future, only Manny really knows what lies ahead. For the rest of us, only time will tell.
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