The Calgary Vipers are swinging for the fences.
The Golden League club intends to offer a contract to Manny Ramirez, the Los Angeles Dodgers slugger who was suspended yesterday by after failing a performance-enhancing drug test. They need to find his agent first.
"We've been trying to get a hold of Scott Boras all day," Vipers director of baseball operations Peter Young said. "We just want to make sure he knows he's got a place to play if he needs to get at-bats."
Ramirez, 36, began serving his 50-game big-league suspension last night, but there are no rules that forbid him from suiting up for an independent squad, such as the Vipers, until he is eligible to return to the Dodgers.
After hearing news of Ramirez' suspension yesterday, Young called the Golden League office to inquire about offering the outfielder a deal.
"You can't pass that up," Young said. "Jose Canseco played in this league. Rickey Henderson played in this league. When a name like that comes available, anything you can do that might enhance the gate and the prestige of the franchise, I think you have to at least explore it."
Young made headlines last season by trading pitcher John Odom to the Laredo Broncos of the independent United League for 10 baseball bats and signing ex-Flames star Theoren Fleury to a contract.
He insists his attempt to sign Ramirez, who sits 17th on the all-time home run list, is "no publicity stunt."
"If we can get a major-leaguer, we'd be crazy not to," Young said.