Manny Ramirez decided to end his contract in the Taiwan professional baseball league one week before its expiration date, and although the quirky outfielder denied having an offer to play in Japan or the United States, he says he's looking forward to getting one.
"I don't have other offers, but I'm not retiring. I love this game too much as to give it up when I can still play," Ramirez told ESPNdeportes.com via phone from Taiwan. "Dominicans adore playing baseball. Why would I stop playing if I have the conditions to do so?"
Ramirez, 41, batted .352 with eight homers and 43 RBIs in 49 games with the EDA Rhinos and helped boost sales of tickets and TV ratings in Taiwan professional league, a circuit that has faced serious problems in recent years.
Ramirez's contract with the Rhinos covered the first half of the season, which will end Tuesday. He asked the group to cancel the deal in advance of the ending date.
"My contract [in Taiwan] ends on June 25, but I decided to finish it a week early to spend time with my family in Taiwan and then wait for an offer from Japan or the United States," Ramirez said. "Thank the Lord, doors will stay open. The general manager offered me to play or be batting coach. I'm leaving on good terms. I have a plane ticket to return to the U.S. on Monday."
This week, a Japanese newspaper reported that the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan's Pacific League were interested in Ramirez's services.
"My lawyers haven't told me anything. I learned about Japan [reports] on the Internet. Hopefully something will fall," Ramirez said.
Ramirez said he will continue to wait patiently for an offer from a major league team. However, he said being out of American baseball is not a major issue for him.
"I've learned that what I can't do, I leave it to God," he said. "Let it be his will. Thank the Lord I have peace. What is fame, money, power's worth, if I lose God? I have peace, a beautiful wife and children. I am the owner of the world with that blessing, which is greater than any material blessing."
A source told ESPNNewYork.com on Friday that the New York Yankees are not interested in Ramirez.
Ramirez batted .312 with 555 homers and 1,831 RBIs in 19 major league seasons before retiring from baseball in April 2011, after committing a second violation against MLB's doping program. In February 2012, he signed a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics and served a 50-game penalty in Triple-A, but became a free agent when Oakland didn't called him up by midseason.
"I don't regret things I did in the past since there's a lesson to learn from every mistake," said Ramirez, who played winter ball in the Dominican Republic last year to improve his chances of getting a summer job. "Mistakes make us better people, better men. I am pleased to overcome my mistakes.
"Of course, if doors remains open, I will keep playing with Aguilas Cibaeñas in DR," Ramírez said.
Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand was used in this report.