Manny Ramirez Rumors
The Athletics are "very interested" in adding Manny Ramirez as a designated hitter for 2012, Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportesLosAngeles.com reports. The Orioles and Blue Jays also watched Ramirez hit at an indoor cage, Rojas adds.
MLB reinstated Ramirez from the voluntary retirement list in December, but he would still have to serve a 50-game suspension for violating MLB's drug policy if and when signs. The 39-year-old slugger has 547 home runs and a career batting line of .312/.411/.585 in 19 MLB seasons. He hit .298/.409/.460 for the Dodgers and White Sox in 2010, his last extended stint in the Major Leagues.
The first few items of this post concern Alfonso Soriano, Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez. Are we sure it's 2012? As we wrap up a busy Friday the 13th, here are a few items to take us into the weekend...
- Alfonso Soriano reiterated that he is willing to waive his no-trade clause, but only if the Cubs deal him to a contender, reports ESPN Chicago's Bruce Levine. Soriano is owed $54MM through 2014 and the Cubs are reportedly willing to pay most of that salary in a possible deal.
- Pedro Martinez tells Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal that a few teams contacted him about a possible comeback last season, but the future Hall-of-Famer firmly stated he isn't making a comeback.
- Indians GM Chris Antonetti told a group of reporters (including MLB.com's Jordan Bastian) that the Tribe wasn't interested in bringing back Manny Ramirez, saying Ramirez was "not a positional fit." While it could be argued Ramirez would be a nice right-handed complement to current Cleveland DH Travis Hafner, it's easy to see why a team would want to steer clear of Ramirez's baggage.
- From the same media session, Antonetti said it isn't "imperative" that the Indians acquire a first baseman. "I think we feel good about the foundation of players that we have," Antonetti said. "We're in a good spot, but certainly we'd like to improve upon that." Yesterday, we heard the Tribe was interested in free agent Carlos Pena.
- The Dodgers never spoke to free agent outfielder Coco Crisp, GM Ned Colletti tells Steve Dilbeck of the L.A. Times. It's hard to imagine the Dodgers matching the two-year, $14MM contract Crisp received from the Athletics, but then again, the A's are one of the few teams under even tighter budget restraints than the Dodgers.
- The Tigers have been so quiet this offseason that MLive.com's Ian Casselberry figures the club may be better off waiting until the season begins to make upgrades.
- Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune discusses the latest Padres news and answers questions from fans in his weekly online chat.
- On a one-year, $8MM contract, Roy Oswalt could be "the biggest bargain of the winter," opines Fangraphs' Dave Cameron.
- Tyler Kepner of the New York Times unveils his "Unsigned All-Star Team" of the offseason's most notable remaining free agents.
Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein joined WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show this morning and discussed a number of topics, including the Cubs, the Red Sox and the circumstances that led to his current role in Chicago. Here are some highlights from the interview:
- "There are plenty of resources here," Epstein said, when asked about the Cubs' ability to spend. So far the Cubs have made modest free agent additions led by David DeJesus' $10MM contract, as our Free Agent Tracker shows.
- "We've brought in multiple players in their pre-prime years who have plenty of upside ahead of them," he said of the Cubs' moves so far this offseason.
- Not surprisingly, Epstein said Manny Ramirez isn't a fit for the Cubs.
- Epstein said he and current Red Sox GM Ben Cherington discussed the possibility of Epstein's departure for years. To put last year's off-field issues in context, he said there were periods that were "just as unproductive and contentious" in 2004.
- Though Terry Francona isn't currently an MLB manager, Epstein expects the skipper to land a managerial job as soon as he wants one, whether that occurs next summer or next offseason.
- "You can get in trouble sometimes giving huge four-year deals to closers," Epstein said, after acknowledging that Jonathan Papelbon will be missed in Boston. Andrew Bailey and Mark Melancon should help Boston's bullpen recover from the loss of Papelbon, Epstein said.
- Carl Crawford didn't let his athleticism translate into performance during his first year in Boston, but Epstein expects better results in 2012 and beyond. Red Sox owner John Henry wasn't a proponent of the Crawford deal, but Epstein wanted to sign the speedy left fielder.
- Epstein says the Red Sox should obtain compensation for his departure, but he cited Andy MacPhail's move to the Cubs in 1994 and cautioned that historical precedent suggests the Red Sox shouldn't obtain much from Chicago.
- Manny Ramirez told ESPN's Pedro Gomez that he can be a role model if an MLB team gives him a chance. "I want to show people that Manny can change, that he can do the right thing," Ramirez said.
- Colby Lewis told Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he and the Rangers have had some talks about an extension (Twitter link). Lewis is set to hit free agency after the 2012 season, when he'll earn $3.25MM.
- Johnny Damon expressed some frustration with the Rays, according to Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. "It's an unhappy day,'' Damon said after hearing that Luke Scott had agreed to terms with Tampa Bay. "Didn't realize the DH and 1B brought the offense down [in 2011]. Thought we would've had an offer.''
- Renyel Pinto signed with the Softbank Hawks for $910K plus incentives, according to this Sponichi report relayed by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker.
- More from Newman, who passes along another Sponichi report that has the Yomiuri Giants working on a deal with outfielder John Bowker. The Phillies granted Bowker his release earlier in the week.
Yesterday, we heard that the Orioles and Cubs talked about a deal involving Alfonso Soriano. In order to ship the outfielder elsewhere, the Cubs would have to eat a substantial portion of the $54MM remaining on his contract. Here's more on Soriano and the Orioles..
- Talks between the Orioles and Cubs were probably not very serious, sources told Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com. Dan Duquette doesn't want to spend heavily on a designated hitter and even if the Cubs ate about 80% of the $54MM owed to Soriano, the O's would still be on the hook for $3-4MM for each of the next three seasons.
- Dubroff adds that if Duquette shells out a big contract this winter, it'll be for a pitcher, not for a one-dimensional DH. Former O's reliever Mike Gonzalez is still on the open market, but it's not likely that he'll get the chance to redeem himself in Baltimore.
- The Orioles and Blue Jays have both evaluated Manny Ramirez, according to Enrique Rojas of ESPNDeportes.com (Spanish link). According to a source, both clubs sent scouts to watch Ramirez hit in an indoor cage in Miami.
- Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter) writes that executive director of international recruiting Fred Ferreira and manager Buck Showalter watched Ramirez take batting practice shortly after the Winter Meetings.
- The Orioles didn't trade for Jai Miller because of concerns over Nick Markakis' health, writes Kubatko. Miller is seen as an upgrade over former first-round pick Brandon Snyder, and a better overall player than Matt Angle. The O's acquired Miller for $45K from the Athletics on Tuesday.
- The Orioles signed Korean right-hander Eun Chul Choi to a minor league deal, according to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Not much is known about the 6-foot-5 hurler, but based on comments from Duquette, it seems that his signing marks the beginning of a serious push into Korea by the organization.
Some links as Thursday turns into Friday...
- As part of his comeback attempt, Manny Ramirez will work out for teams later this month according to ESPN's Buster Olney (on Twitter). Manny was officially reinstated last month, and he indicated that the "doors are open" for a minor league contract.
- Braves GM Frank Wren told MLB.com's Mark Bowman that he feels both Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado will be with the team at the start of Spring Training. They still have interest in Adam Jones and could continue to pursue the outfielder if the Orioles lower their demands.
- The Yankees never inquired on lefty reliever Darren Oliver before he signed with the Blue Jays, reports MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith (on Twitter). New York has brought in southpaws Hideki Okajima and Mike O'Connor on minor league deals this offseason.
- Miguel Tejada is training in Miami as he looks to make a comeback, reports Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). The 37-year-old was designated for assignment by the Giants in August after hitting .239/.270/.326 in 343 plate appearances.
- Matt Eddy of Baseball America recapped the last three weeks of minor league transactions. We've covered all the significant moves here, but you can check out which low-level minor leaguers your favorite team recently released.
Manny Ramirez was officially reinstated from the retirement list by MLB on Saturday, though he must serve a 50-game suspension if signed. Ramirez recently spoke to Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes, here are a few highlights.
On his abrupt April retirement:
"I was badly advised, I took a decision I should not have taken. I should have said something to my fans. I was surrounded by many people who gave me bad advice. I made an emotional decision, but I have regretted that decision since the day I made it."
On his willingness to sign a minor league deal:
"If a scout comes by and sees me, sees the shape that I'm in, I can get a big league contract, but the doors are open."
On his willingness to play Japan or someone else other than MLB:
"We are the working class and wherever there is work, you must go work."
Barry Bonds was unable to find a minor league offer in 2008 and 2009, and while Manny doesn't come with quite as much baggage, it's possible he'll come up empty as well.
MLB has officially reinstated Manny Ramirez from the voluntary retirement list according to ESPN's Buster Olney (Twitter links). Ramirez intends to attempt a comeback next year, but will first need to serve a 50-game suspension for his failed PED test this past season.
Manny, now 39, has been calling teams directly to find employment, though neither the Dodgers or Rays are expected to have much interest in him. There aren't many clubs in need of a DH, plus there are still several DH candidates on the free agent market that come with less baggage. Ramirez will likely have to settle for a non-roster invite to Spring Training.
Earlier today we saw a rare trade between division rivals when the Rockies sent Huston Street to the Padres for a player to be named later and cash. Let's take a look at some other news and rumors from the NL West...
- The Rockies "immediately contacted" Hiroki Kuroda's agent following the Street trade, writes Troy Renck of the Denver Post. With $7MM freed up, Colorado has a number of options. Renck once again mentions Colorado's interest in Michael Cuddyer as well.
- The Rockies like Jonathon Niese a lot, but have had no conversations to date with the Mets, according to Renck. New York is open to moving the 25-year-old lefty.
- The Pirates are keeping in touch with the Rox on Ian Stewart, tweets Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports.
- Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times tweets that the Dodgers are keeping in touch with the agent for Mike MacDougal. GM Ned Colletti is also talking with other relievers, but talks with MacDougal are the furthest along.
- The Dodgers have "no interest" in bringing back Manny Ramirez, writes Hernandez's colleague Steve Dilbeck.
Free agent notes I found lying around on Twitter...
- Righty Chris Young should be ready for spring training following shoulder capsule surgery, his agent told MLB.com's Corey Brock.
- Aaron Rowand is looking for a big league job, tweets Danny Knobler of CBS Sports. The Phillies said no.
- Manny Ramirez is calling teams directly in his search for employment, tweets Bob Klapisch.
- Reliever Frank Francisco is likely to sign elsewhere in the wake of the Blue Jays acquiring Sergio Santos, GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters today.
- Infielder Miguel Tejada hopes for a Major League deal, tweets Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.
- More than a dozen scouts are expected to watch Joel Zumaya throw next week, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney. The Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, and Padres are among the team's that will be in attendance.
- Sidney Ponson has no intention of pitching again, writes MASNSports.com's Roch Kubatko. Currently, Ponson is contemplating whether to purchase a boat. I say go for it, big guy!