Manny Ramirez Rumors
Manny Ramirez wants to return to the Majors, but Andrew Marchand of ESPNNewYork.com spoke with an official who doesn't think he'd be a fit with the Yankees, despite the Yanks' recent offensive woes: "Can't see him in the Bronx given all the baggage he brings," said Marchand's source. Marchand also polled readers, who are split about 50-50 on whether or not they would approve of a Ramirez acquisition at this point. Here's more on the AL East...
- Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington was the only Major League GM present to watch Cuban right-hander Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez's recent showcase in Tijuana, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Numerous other teams were there to see him, though they were represented by scouting directors and assistant GMs. One executive told Rosenthal: “The world was there to see him. A million teams were in there."
- Joel Sherman of the New York Post wonders if the Yankees should consider selling low on Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in order to supplement their roster with some right-handed bats that can help alleviate the team's woes against left-handed pitching. Both are free agents at season's end, and neither is a key component to their success at this point, opines Sherman.
- In light of the Red Sox's recent closer shuffle, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal asks if the best solution is for the Sox to re-acquire Jonathan Papelbon. As MacPherson points out, the Sox have tasked four relievers with replacing Papelbon -- Andrew Bailey (twice), Mark Melancon, Alfredo Aceves and Joel Hanrahan -- and none have been able to get the job done to this point.
Ricky Nolasco would not mind pitching for the Giants, reports Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. "I don’t think anybody would be disappointed to come to San Francisco. I like everything about this place: mound size, good place to pitch, crowd is great and a great team. What’s not to like?" Meanwhile, the Marlins are laying the groundwork for a Nolasco trade, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. "They don't screw around," a source tells Rodriguez. "The second they get the deal they like they'll do it." In 15 starts this year, Nolasco has a 3.61 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Here are more notes from around the big leagues.
- The Pirates "need" the Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton, ESPN.com's David Schoenfield argues. Schoenfield points out that the Pirates rank last in the National League in OPS at right field (with Travis Snider's disappointing season thus far being the main reason why). Also, the Pirates have a strong farm system with the sorts of prospects that could well tempt the Marlins. Schoenfield suggests that the Pirates could deal Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco, both Top 100 prospects, along with catcher Tony Sanchez and an additional pitching prospect. That would still leave the Bucs with a good crop of young players that would include Gerrit Cole, Starling Marte, Alen Hanson, Josh Bell and their 2013 draft class, but it would be a high price, as one would expect. Stanton isn't eligible for free agency until after the 2016 season, so the Pirates would be receiving a huge, and immediate, upgrade for the next several years. But the Bucs' financial situation makes their farm system a crucial part of any success they might have, so the penalty for missing on such a huge trade would be very high.
- The Yankees will be looking for hitters at the trade deadline, but one problem is that the uncertain timing of the returns of the Yankees' many injured hitters makes it difficult to know which positions they should aim to upgrade, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. Also, the Yanks would still like to keep their payroll under $189MM in 2014, which could make it tricky to trade for players signed beyond 2013.
- Manny Ramirez is still looking for an opportunity with a Major League club, Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com tweets. Ramirez is also looking for a chance to play in Japan. Ramirez, 41, played briefly for the Rays in 2011, and appeared in 17 games for the Athletics' Triple-A Sacramento affiliate in 2012.
With today's news that MLB could be looking to fast-track suspensions relating to the Biogenesis PED scandal, it is worth reading USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale's look ahead at the arbitration process that will have a major role in how things play out. As previous arbitrator Shyam Das explained to Nightengale, newly-minted arbitrator Fredric Horowitz will be entering "somewhat uncharted waters" as he assesses whether the evidence warrants whatever suspensions are ultimately leveled. You may also be interested in reading this interesting account (from Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times) of how whistleblower Porter Fischer blew the lid on the Biogenesis clinic.
In more pleasant news, here is a look at some goings-on around baseball:
- While the Red Sox' below-slot signing of first-rounder Trey Ball freed up some cash, Baseball America's Jim Callis tweets that the team is still unlikely to ink 22nd-round choice Ryan Boldt. Boldt, a highly-regarded high school outfielder who was rated as high as 39th overall (by MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo), reportedly intends to attend the University of Nebraska. According to Callis, he is looking for a $2.5MM bonus to forego college.
- On the other hand, with the Astros locking up first overall choice Mark Appel to a bonus that fell about $1.5MM below his slot value, MLB.com's Brian McTaggart says that the club is looking to spend some of that cash on later-round high schoolers. Houston could send some of its free money to tenth-rounder Austin Nicely (a left-handed University of Virginia commit) or eleventh-rounder Devonte German (a righty who will otherwise head to Nevada).
- The inimitable Manny Ramirez has opted out of his contract with the Taiwanese EDR Rhinos and has his eyes set on a return to Major League Baseball, writes FOX Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. After mashing eight home runs and posting a .352 batting average in the Chinese Professional Baseball League, Ramirez's representatives Barry Praver and Scott Shapiro say that the slugger is "interested in returning to the majors in any role, including that of a pinch hitter." Now 41 years of age, the all-time great slugger last appeared in the bigs in 2011 with the Rays.
Manny Ramirez is batting .352 for the Taiwanese EDR Rhinos and ranks second in the league with eight home runs. While that might not be enough for MLB teams to show interest in the controversial slugger, he's drawing interest from Japan's Chiba Lotte Marines, according to a Sponichi report (Japanese link). Marines Manager Tsutomu Ito said he'd like to "make an acquisition when the team is strong, as MLB teams do," and that he's looking to give the DH spot to a power hitter. While it seems that Manny will continue to "be Manny" overseas for the time being, here's more from around Major League Baseball...
- Joel Hanrahan regrets how his brief Red Sox tenure played out and wishes he could've shown more to the fans, writes Rob Bradford of WEEI.com. Bradford notes that it's impossible to predict where Hanrahan will end up in free agency this winter, but the two-time All-Star isn't ruling out a return to Boston. Hanrahan told Bradford he "has a lot of things left to prove in Boston."
- ESPN's Keith Law examines the recent rash of top prospect promotions, offering his expectations for recent call-ups Wil Myers, Gerrit Cole, Mike Zunino and Zack Wheeler (ESPN Insider required).
- In light of Mark Teixeira re-injuring his wrist, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post questions the Yankees' decision to activate him from the disabled list in the first place. Davidoff points out that the World Baseball Classic paid for the $7.38MM that Teixeira earned while on the DL because he was injured preparing for the tournament. Now that he's been with the Yankees, the team will be on the hook for his remaining $15.12MM of salary even if he misses the remainder of the season.
Sunday afternoon linkage..
- Unable to find an MLB opportunity, Manny Ramirez has agreed to sign with the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional League, agent Barry Praver told Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com. Late last month, we learned that Manny Ramirez had a verbal agreement in place with the club but had the option of backing out if he landed a deal with an MLB team before March 7th.
- Former Nationals skipper Manny Acta has joined ESPN as an analyst but he still hopes to return to the dugout as a manager, writes James Wagner of the Washington Post. Acta said he was contacted by some teams for jobs as a bench coach or special assistant this winter but none as a manager. After managing two organizations during rebuilding stages, he plans to wait for the “right opportunity.”
- It would appear that the out-of-options Jeremy Jeffress has a good chance of making the Blue Jays as he has impressed in spring training, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.
- There's lots of trade talk surrounding Carlos Marmol and Alfonso Soriano, but Cubs manager Dale Sveum is unfazed by it, writes Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times.
Manny Ramirez has a verbal agreement to sign with the EDA Rhinos of the China Professional League, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com reports (Spanish link). However, the agreement won't be completed until March 7th. Ramirez has until that date to reach a deal with an MLB team, but he expressed optimism about playing in Taiwan.
"It will be a new experience, experience another culture while I keep doing what I love and all I've done in my life, playing baseball," Ramirez said.
Ramirez, a client of agent Barry Praver, told Rojas that his representatives called almost every American League team that could use a powerful bat. However, "nobody was interested" in the words of Ramirez. Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reported earlier this month that Ramirez was in talks to play for the Rhinos.
Ramirez recently played in the Dominican Winter League, but he last played at the MLB level with the 2011 Rays. He signed with the Athletics last winter, only to be released in June, before he played in a big league game. Ramirez has 555 home runs and a .312/.411/.585 batting line over the course of a 19-year playing career that includes 12 All-Star Game selections and multiple suspensions related to performance enhancing drugs.
Manny Ramirez, who ranks 14th on MLB's all-time home run list, could resume his playing career in Taiwan. The 40-year-old slugger is in talks to play for the EDA Rhinos of the Taiwanese professional league, Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter).
Ramirez recently played in the Dominican Winter League and wants to continue his MLB career, agent Barry Praver told Morosi last month. However, MLB teams such as the Indians didn't appear to have interest in Ramirez this offseason.
Ramirez last played at the MLB level with the 2011 Rays. He signed with the Athletics last winter, but they released him in June, before he played in a big league game. Ramirez has 555 home runs and a .312/.411/.585 batting line over the course of a 19-year playing career that includes 12 All-Star Game selections and multiple suspensions related to performance enhancing drugs.
The Indians are looking to add a hitter and could spend modestly to supplement their offense, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports. The team is considering a reunion with several former Indians, including Jim Thome and Travis Hafner, Heyman reports. Though there’s been “a hint of buzz” about a reunion with Manny Ramirez, he’s not a consideration.
The Indians don't have an obvious internal DH option at this point, assuming Mark Reynolds plays first base. GM Chris Antonetti recently acknowledged that Hafner remains an option in Cleveland. Thome, 42, played for the Phillies and Orioles in 2012. He has said he's not retired and would consider playing because he still feels good physically.
Heyman identified former Indians such as Johnny Damon, Casey Kotchman and Grady Sizemore as other potential options for Antonetti. Free agents Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott, Carlos Lee, Jason Giambi and Juan Rivera are also available. Indians designated hitters ranked 11th in the American League with a .226/.317/.385 batting line in 2012.
Manny Ramirez, who is now playing in the Dominican Winter League postseason, wants to continue his MLB career, agent Barry Praver told Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (Twitter link). Ramirez last appeared in an MLB game in 2011, but the A's did sign him last February. Here are some more links from around MLB...
- Seattle’s offer for Justin Upton tells you they’ll be major bidders once the Marlins start listening to offers for Giancarlo Stanton, ESPN.com’s Buster Olney writes (on Twitter). The Mariners were prepared to send Taijuan Walker, Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush and Stephen Pryor to Arizona to obtain Upton.
- Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca explains that the signing of Henry Blanco could save the Blue Jays some money behind the plate and enable them to spend on a late-inning reliever in free agency.
- With the return of Darren Oliver, Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com (Twitter links) now sees six Blue Jays relievers competing for three spots. Among those six are Esmil Rogers and Jeremy Jeffress, who are both out of options.
- Former MLB first baseman/outfielder Ben Broussard worked out for five teams in Austin, Texas today, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (on Twitter). The 36-year-old, who played winter ball in Mexico, took grounders at first base and fly balls in left field during his audition (Twitter link). Broussard last appeared in the majors with the Rangers in 2008.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
Let's take a look at the latest news and notes on what could be the final day of the 2012 baseball season.
- Jim Leyland's future as manager of the Tigers is still unclear, tweets Tom Gage of the Detroit News. Before tonight's World Series game, Leyland said nobody puts a team together better than team President/CEO/GM Dave Dombrowski adding "hopefully he feels I'm the guy to manage it."
- The Orioles' most pressing needs for 2013 are a frontline starter, a second baseman, and dealing with the unsettled positions of left field and first base, writes MASN.com's Roch Kubatko.
- Manny Machado and Dylan Bundy are among the Orioles who could make a big step in 2013, according to Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- The Indians should only trade Chris Perez if they feel Vinnie Pestano can replace him as closer, opined Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer as he delved into his readers' mailbag. Hoynes also believes Lonnie Chisenhall will be given every opportunity to be the everyday third baseman and Sandy Alomar, Jr. would have been the slam-dunk choice as manager, if Terry Francona hadn’t been so adamant about getting back in the dugout.
- In the wake of Shohei Otani's announced intention to pursue a MLB career rather than play in Japan, Japanese baseball officials are considering stricter rules for amateur players who want to do the same, reports the Associated Press (via the Boston Herald).
- Tom Kotchman denied he was forced out by the Angels insisting his decision to leave was due to a desire to find something closer to his Tampa-St. Petersburg area home, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times.
- Congratulations to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, who was named the first female president in the 104-year history of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
- Manny Ramirez's quest to resurrect his baseball career has the slugger heading to the Dominican Republic in hopes of catching the eye of a potential suitor during a tryout for three Japanese teams, writes George A. King III of the New York Post.
Daniel Seco contributed to this post.