Manny Ramirez Rumors
The Athletics have announced that Manny Ramirez has requested his outright release and the team has granted his request. The veteran recently completed his 50-game suspension and was eligible to join the club on May 30th.
Ramirez, 40, hit .302/.348/.349 for Triple-A Sacramento in 69 plate appearances this year. Just last week, A's GM Billy Beane said that the club hadn't decided whether to release the slugger. Oakland signed Ramirez in February and Beane insisted that the move had everything to do with baseball and nothing to do with PR.
It was on this day in 1966 that the Mets made one of the most infamous draft blunders in history, taking Steve Chilcott with the first overall pick of the June amateur draft. Chilcott became the first #1 pick to never play a game in the Major Leagues, while the A's fared a bit better with the #2 selection --- Reggie Jackson.
Let's check out some news from around baseball as we prepare for some interleague action...
- Athletics GM Billy Beane said no decision has been made about releasing Manny Ramirez, reported Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News, though Beane also wasn't sure when or if Ramirez would be called up to Oakland. Ramirez has completed his 50-game suspension but has been hampered by a leg injury and isn't hitting well in Triple-A.
- In a radio appearance on 95.7 FM The Game, Athletics managing general partner Lew Wolff said that he wants to keep the team in the Bay Area and his ownership group has no plans to sell the A's. Wolff predicted that in five years, the A's would be playing in a new stadium in San Jose. (All links at to Twitter.)
- The Orioles have signed third-round pick Adrian Marin, as announced by Marin himself on his Twitter page. Marin is a high school shortstop who was originally committed to the University of Miami.
- The Rangers announced the signings of 18 draft picks, including all of their selections between the fourth and tenth rounds.
- The Tigers shouldn't trade top prospect Nick Castellanos in an effort to win this season at the sake of the minor league system, writes Jamie Samuelsen for the Detroit Free Press.
- ESPN's Keith Law examines how teams' first-round draft picks fit in among their organizations' other top prospects.
- The Twins have hurt themselves by not dealing veterans at the trade deadline in recent years and shouldn't make that same mistake again this season, opines Jim Souhan of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Souhan does name a few players, however, he thinks the Twins shouldn't deal: Jared Burton, Glen Perkins, Jamey Carroll and Josh Willingham.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports takes an early look at the trade deadline in his latest Hot Corner video, naming the Twins, A's, Padres and Cubs as the few clubs who are clear sellers, with the Cubs "probably the biggest seller out there." Rosenthal also thinks the Astros will likely join this group as they want to get rid of their high-priced veterans, though Houston is playing well right now.
- In terms of potential sellers, Rosenthal names the Brewers, as they could look to move Zack Greinke, Shaun Marcum and/or Francisco Rodriguez if they fall out of contention. The Phillies "are kind of hanging on a precipice" in the tough NL East and unless they get more concrete news about the health of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay, Philadelphia could become sellers as well and look ahead to 2013.
- Fredric Horowitz has been hired as the arbitrator between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players' Association, reports the Associated Press. Horowitz replaces Shyam Das, who was fired in the wake of his decision to lift Ryan Braun's 50-game suspension for a positive drug test.
Yoenis Cespedes may make his Cactus League debut this weekend, GM Billy Beane said, according to Barry Bloom of MLB.com. Here are some more Athletics-related notes...
- Athletics outfielder Jason Pridie will be suspended 50 games for violating the minor league drug program, John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Twitter links). Pridie tested positive for a “drug of abuse,” rather than a performance-enhancing drug, apparently doing so for the second time. He signed a minor league deal with the A’s in November.
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports explains that retiring was probably a mistake for Manny Ramirez. The decision to retire affected the type of suspension he faced for violating MLB's drug policy.
- Ramirez said he almost signed with the Blue Jays this offseason before determining the Athletics' interest was more serious. “At first [the Blue Jays] said yes. Then they said, ‘We’re going to have to think about it,’” Ramirez said.
- The A's released catcher Landon Powell earlier today.
The AL West saw no shortage of action this offseason, with notables Albert Pujols, Yu Darvish and Yoenis Cespedes joining the ranks, but the division may yet make a few more transactions headlines before Opening Day. Here's the latest ...
- Angels outfielder/DH Bobby Abreu told Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com that he'd like to be traded if he's not assured of an everyday role this season -- this after Halos skipper Mike Scioscia said Sunday that Abreu will split time at DH with Mark Trumbo and/or Kendrys Morales. GM Jerry Dipoto responded by saying Abreu has "no right" to issue an ultimatum, according to Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.
- Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Texas has no trades in the works right now, including any involving releiver Koji Uehara, and still has no plans to sign right-hander Roy Oswalt, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Uehara has long been rumored to be on the trade block.
- Athletics GM Billy Beane said there are no guarantees for DH Manny Ramirez, recently signed to a minor league contract, beyond Day 1, tweets Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Beane also told reporters, including Jane Lee of MLB.com, that signing Manny was strictly a baseball decision -- not for PR -- and that "we couldn't come up with a reason not to sign him" (Twitter links).
We've already looked at the NL West tonight, so let's stay on the left side of the map to check in on the latest from the AL West...
- Ian Kinsler and the Rangers had "one serious conversation" about a contract extension this offseason but that was "about it," reports MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan. Kinsler expects the club to re-open talks during Spring Training and said he wants to stay in Texas, noting that a possible switch from second base would be "open for discussion." The Rangers will pay Kinsler $7MM this season and they hold a $10MM option on him for 2013.
- Manny Ramirez's deal with the A's has led to some "mixed results" in the Athletics' clubhouse, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Ramirez's ex-teammates Coco Crisp and Bartolo Colon are in favor of the move, while one unnamed player "expressed concern" that if Ramirez makes the team, he'll be taking away at-bats from younger players who will be a bigger part of Oakland's future.
- Angels manager Mike Scioscia talked to Bobby Abreu last month to discuss his role on the team, reports Mark Saxon of ESPN Los Angeles. "In talking to Bobby, he does want to play every day, but he's tempered that with an understanding of the potential of this team to win and he understands the situation," Scioscia said. Abreu is expected to split time with Kendrys Morales and/or Mark Trumbo at DH this season and last week the Halos explored a deal that would've sent Abreu to the Yankees in exchange for A.J. Burnett. I recently looked at the fantasy implications of the Halos' DH situation in a post for MLBTR's sister site Roto Authority.
Manny Ramirez has agreed to terms with the A's on a minor league deal, the team announced today. The deal is worth about $500K in the Majors, reports ESPN's Pedro Gomez. The signing has been expected for several weeks. Though the story is interesting, the A's took an insignificant financial risk and didn't commit a roster spot, and the likely reward is small as well. Ramirez is represented by Praver/Shapiro.
Manny must first serve a 50-game suspension for violating MLB's performance-enhancing drug policy a second time, making his earliest possible debut June 2nd at Kansas City, according to Gomez. Ramirez retired when news of the suspension hit in April of last year, but was reinstated in December.
Ramirez, 39, would be a certain Hall of Famer if not for his PED issues. He owns a .312/.411/.585 line with 555 home runs in 19 seasons for the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, and Rays. He's projected to serve as the A's designated hitter for the latter two-thirds of the season.
Here's a look at today's links as players settle in for Spring Training..
- Athletics skipper Bob Melvin expects to see roster additions on pitching and position player sides before the full camp opens, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter).
- The Phillies were exploring a three-way trade to land A.J. Burnett, tweets Joel Sherman of the New York Post. A third team would have been brought in to allow the club to unload Joe Blanton.
- The Diamondbacks might have to find a more permanent solution at shortstop if Stephen Drew doesn't fully recover from his ankle injury, writes Buster Olney of ESPN.com. Arizona holds a $10MM mutual option on Drew for 2013.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (via Twitter) be surprised to see the Angels make two trades before the end of Spring Training due to the amount of redundancy on their roster.
- Manny Ramirez worked out for the Athletics and the club could sign the slugger within the next week, writes Jane Lee of MLB.com.
The A's made a splash Monday, signing Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year, $36MM contract that allows him to reach free agency at its conclusion. The latest on the club:
- "The A's are likely to sign Manny Ramirez just before or soon after the start of spring training," writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Pitchers and catchers are due to report Saturday, while the full squad reports February 24th. Manny, of course, has a reputation of arriving late to spring training. Ramirez would serve as designated hitter for the A's, but he'd first need to serve a 50-game PED suspension.
- Despite the Cespedes signing, Coco Crisp still feels he's Oakland's best center field option. Crisp told Slusser, "Unless he's a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field." Crisp noted that a center field job was one of the reasons he chose the A's over the Rays, but concluded, "I'm excited to play alongside Cespedes - no matter what side that may be."
- Cespedes' no-arbitration clause is precedent-setting, writes ESPN's Buster Olney, as in the past only Japanese players have managed to secure free agency without the typical requirement of six years of Major League service.
- As I noted earlier today, the A's have four out of options players on the 40-man roster with fewer than five years of Major League service: Brandon Allen, Jerry Blevins, Joey Devine, and Kila Ka'aihue.
The Athletics are continuing to talk to the Rangers about reliever Koji Uehara, and they are also in talks with free agent lefty Mike Gonzalez, tweeted ESPN's Buster Olney this morning. Though Olney's tweet came prior to the Yoenis Cespedes bombshell, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports later tweeted that the A's still seek a reliever and Gonzalez is a possibility. And according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, the A's are still likely to sign designated hitter Manny Ramirez, although they're out on Cuban free agent Jorge Soler in the wake of the Cespedes signing.
The A's and Rangers have spoken about a few relievers this offseason, most notably Andrew Bailey before he was traded to the Red Sox. Uehara recently invoked his no-trade clause to block a deal to the Blue Jays, and is said to prefer a return to the Orioles. Texas is reportedly looking to move the righty to free up room for Gonzalez, who finished last season with them. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes took a look at some other potential suitors for Gonzalez this morning.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
The Athletics appear to be the only team still 100 percent in the mix for Manny Ramirez, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but they'd like to add a reliever before making Manny their priority. According to Rosenthal, the Blue Jays were in on Manny at one point, but talks failed to progress. Orioles GM Dan Duquette, meanwhile, said that he doesn't see a fit for Ramirez in Baltimore last week.
As Rosenthal explains, Ramirez will be eligible to play in Spring Training games in spite of his 50-game suspension. He's also eligible to play in extended Spring Training, and can begin a 10-game minor league rehab assignment prior to the completion of his suspension to allow him to get some reps in before seeing Major Leaue action. Ramirez can work out with a Major League or minor league team prior to that, provided that he departs before the gates open that day.
Rosenthal writes that it's unclear whether other clubs are in the mix for the career .312/.411/.585 hitter. With the Blue Jays and Orioles seemingly out of the mix, it could be down to a one-team market for the oft-troubled slugger.