As you probably already know, Manny Ramirez retired today after 19 Major League Baseball seasons.
He got off to a terrible start with the Tampa Bay Rays, mustering just one hit in his first 17 at-bats. But that isn't why he retired.
He reportedly tested positive for a banned substance -- a performance-enhancing drug -- for the second time in his career. If he chose to appeal it, he would have faced a 100-game suspension. Instead of going through that -- and probably losing the appeal -- he decided to hang up his spikes.
If any player in the history of baseball was going to get caught twice, it would have been Ramirez. Ever since his first positive test, his numbers -- specifically his power numbers -- have decreased. Is there a correlation? Possibly; it's hard to know for sure. But Ramirez just wasn't the same hitter he was before he was traded to the Dodgers in July 2008. That's to be expected with age, but his production sharply declined.
The Dodgers still owe Ramirez money through 2013 in deferred payments and that isn't going away with his retirement.
The Rays, a team off to an 0-6 start, can't get much worse than they were with Ramirez. At least it allows another player to take his spot.
Any chances Ramirez had left to make the Hall of Fame are likely gone after this. If the writers have yet to vote in the likes of Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro, Ramirez stands no chance.
He was great for the Dodgers in 2008 (playoffs included) and was one of the best right-handed hitters of all-time, but the tarnished legacy is something he won't be able to run away from.