At least three teams are looking forward to a midseason infusion of offense from a veteran designated hitter. If all goes according to plan this summer, the Indians, Rays and Athletics will each add a DH nearing the end of his career. Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and Manny Ramirez agreed to play on minor league deals and Vladimir Guerrero is in line for a similar contract if his workouts impress interested teams.
Teams take on minimal risk with these contracts, but there’s no guarantee that the players can hit enough to earn a 25-man roster spot. Damon, Matsui, Ramirez and Guerrero were once Hall of Fame caliber contributors, but they’re all at least 37 years old now, well into their decline. Which minor league deal will turn out best?