DALLAS — Manny Ramirez's career appeared to end in disgrace in April when he retired from the Rays in the face of a 100-game suspension for a second failed drug test.
But as baseball's winter meetings get under way today, Ramirez is making a bid to get back in the game, filing for reinstatement under a negotiated deal that would reduce his ban to 50 games.
The Rays are not expected to be interested this time around.
Ramirez, 39, hit just .059 (1-for-17) in five games for the Rays before the news broke, and his departure caused what appeared to be a major void in their lineup, coming a few days after 3B Evan Longoria was injured.
The Rays recovered and made the playoffs, with Johnny Damon taking over the DH role that had been pegged for Ramirez, who signed a bargain-priced $2 million deal and had impressed the Rays during the spring. Ramirez went home to South Florida and eventually got into legal trouble, arrested in September on a domestic battery charge.
He floated the idea of playing in the Dominican Republic, but after changing agents from Scott Boras to Scott Shapiro and Barry Praver, he decided to try to get back to the big leagues and has reportedly been working out.
MLB said in a Sunday night release that Ramirez had applied to be reinstated from the voluntary retired list and will have to serve the 50-game suspension after signing with a team.
New Orioles GM Dan Duquette, who signed Ramirez in Boston, laughed when the question was posed Sunday but didn't rule it out.
"Manny's always interesting, and he's never predictable," Duquette told Baltimore reporters. "But I don't know too much about the mechanics of what we would have to do or if we could do it. But Manny's always a lot of fun to be around, and he's very entertaining."
ANOTHER TO SOUTH BEACH: Free agent SS Jose Reyes appeared set leave the Mets and join the Marlins, with reports Sunday night that he had agreed to a six-year offer worth in excess of $100 million. ESPN reported the deal was for $106 million, with a seventh-year option for $22 million or a $5 million buyout. Reyes would be the second high-profile free agent to join the Marlins, who are moving into a new stadium. They reportedly agreed to terms last week on a three-year, $27 million deal with closer Heath Bell. With Reyes aboard, they are expected to move Hanley Ramirez to third base.
HALL CALL: The Veterans Committee will announce its voting today on Golden Era candidates for the Hall of Fame. Former Cubs star Ron Santo and Dodgers 1B/Mets manager Gil Hodges are among the candidates. Also on the ballot are Ken Boyer, Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, Allie Reynolds and Luis Tiant, plus executives Charlie Finley and Buzzie Bavasi.
RAYS RUMBLINGS: The Rays are among a half-dozen teams reported to be interested in RH reliever Luis Ayala, a 33-year-old who was 2-2 with a 2.09 ERA in 52 games for the Yankees last season. … Damon, a free agent, told the Boston Globe the Rays were "perfect for me."