The Rays have officially signed Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, the team announced. Damon's deal is worth $5.25MM plus a potential $750K in bonus money based on attendance and Ramirez's deal is worth $2MM. Both players are represented by Scott Boras.
We first heard that Damon and the Rays were discussing a deal, and that Tampa Bay was a "leading suitor" for Ramirez. According to Newsday's Ken Davidoff (via Twitter), Boras pitched the idea of both of his clients signing with the Rays "as a package deal" given that both players were interested in playing for Tampa Bay.
The signings reunite Damon and Ramirez, who played together in Boston from 2002 to 2005, and it also brings both men back to the AL East. Ramirez was a Type A free agent and Damon a Type B, but since neither player was offered arbitration (by the White Sox and Tigers, respectively), no compensatory draft picks are involved.
Damon likely moves into a corner outfield position (with Desmond Jennings filling the other spot), while Ramirez will be Tampa Bay's new DH. Damon could also see some playing time at DH against right-handed pitching. Damon hit .271/.355/.401 with 36 doubles for the Tigers last year.
In spite of injuries and controversy that led to his trade from the Dodgers to the White Sox, Ramirez still posted a .298/.409/.460 slash line in 320 plate appearances in 2010. On a $2MM contract, Ramirez will be one of the winter's biggest bargains if he comes close to repeating that performance in 2011 over a full season.
Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated first reported the deal and added detail on Damon's incentives. For more on today's press conference, click here.