Ramirez on way out

Alex Ramirez’s five-year run as manager of the DeNA BayStars will come to an end this season, the Central League club announced Saturday.

With Saturday’s loss to the Hiroshima Carp, Ramirez’s career record is 330-332 with 18 ties for a .498 winning percentage. In four seasons, he finished third twice and second once for a team that has historically been the league’s principal doormat.

Ramirez inherited a team that went .413 over the previous five seasons.

The franchise has had only six managers with at least 400 games the fewest of any of the 1950 expansion teams including the Kintetsu Buffaloes who went out of business after the 2004 season. Among the six longest-tenured managers, only Hiroshi Gondo had a winning percentage over .500. Gondo was, of course, fired for his failure to be politically correct and barely scraped past the 400-game mark.

DeNA’s ownership of the club starting in 2012 ushered in new ways of doing things and have had only two managers since—although as my colleagues have pointed out, the team only turned to Ramirez in 2016 when the mediocre Kiyoshi Nakahata refused to stay on.

The different stories going around Saturday all seem to agree that the BayStars had the talent base needed to win the pennant this year, but that was something the team’s ownership has been saying since 2017, and it’s only slightly truer now than it was then.

All things considered, the team has done quite well, although not perhaps enough to alleviate the heat in an organization that owner Tomoko Namba has turned into a pressure cooker.

Ramirez remains the only import player to get 2,000 hits in Japan. Due to his popularity, he is currently on track to be the second or third import player elected to the Japanese Baseball Hall of Fame, since Wally Yonamine is already in and two-time triple crown-winner Randy Bass will probably make it through Japan’s version of the veteran’s committee before the writers elect Ramirez.

The article said that Daisuke Miura, the team’s former ace pitcher and current minor league manager, is in line to take over and that the team recognizes Ramirez’s contributions to building up the talent base and has reserved a player personnel job for him if he wants it.

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