News Out of Asia
Manny Ramirez has opted out of his contract with the EDR Rhinos of Taiwan’s Chinese Professional Baseball League (“CPBL”) after half a season in which he hit .352 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs. Manny hopes to return to the major leagues on the strength of his half season in Taiwan.
I’m not particularly sanguine about Manny’s chances. While his performance in Taiwan was good enough for Manny to garner a roster spot at AAA with a chance to progress to the majors if he hits well there, it’s hard to imagine that many major league teams are going to want to take on all of his baggage now that he’s 41 years old and hasn’t played in the majors since 2011.
Meanwhile, 36 year old Korean slugger Seung-Yeop Lee set the all time Korean Baseball Organization (“KBO”) record with his 352nd career home run earlier this week. While that may not sound like a whole lot, Lee spent eight years playing in Japan’s NPB between 2004 and 2011, where he hit an additional 159 HRs, giving him a grand total of 511 in his professional career, not counting any winter ball he may have played.
A truly great slugger, Lee hit 54 HRs in 1999 and 56 more in 2003 to set the all-time Asian single season record. At age 26 and ten months, he became the youngest player anywhere to hit 300 professional home runs in a “major” league.