More Players Head Far East
The Oakland A’s gave left-hander Garrett Olson his release so he could sign with the Doosan Bears of South Korea’s KBO, and it now looks like Manny Ramirez is really going to start the 2013 season playing in Taiwan for the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional Baseball League.
Olson is 29 years old and appears to be a player whose brightest professional future lies in South Korea or Japan. He has a major league career 6.26 ERA in just over 287 innings pitched, and he spent almost all of 2012 at AAA where he was an average starter. He should help the Doosan Bears though.
Manny’s signing with a Taiwanese team is old news now, but I’ve held off writing anything about it because I still have my doubts that Manny will actually play in Taiwan for more than 20 or 30 games, if at all. Everyone knows that Manny really wants to get back to the majors, and how long he is willing to live and play in Taiwan, since he had quite a reputation as a prima donna when he was a major league star, remains to be seen.
However, I don’t see how playing in Taiwan is going to get major league teams interested again unless Manny hits at least .375 with an OPS over 1.200 for the better part of a season. The China Professional Baseball League (“CPBL”) is probably a long way from even an American AAA team in terms of quality of play.
I read somewhere that American baseball players playing in the CPBL typically make about $150,000 a season. Assuming that as a major star, Manny is getting a bit more ($200K or $250K), he’d make more playing baseball in Taiwan than doing just about anything else right now. Salaries in the Atlantic League, the highest paying of the Independent A leagues, probably now peak at $5,000 a month for a five month season.
Manny made a tremendous amount of money in his major league career, but who knows how well he’s held on to his money? He can’t begin to collect his pension until he’s 50, which is still more than nine years away. If he’s been profligate, whatever money he makes in Taiwan might come in handy.