All signals point toward the Oakland Athletics signing
free-agent designated hitter Manny Ramirez sometime soon. Ramirez,
who must serve a 50-game suspension before he can play for
violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy, has attracted
interest not only from Oakland but also the Baltimore Orioles and
Toronto Blue Jays.
All signals point toward the Oakland Athletics signing free-agent designated hitter Manny Ramirez sometime soon.
However, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette said recently he doesn’t see Ramirez, 39, as a fit for his team. Discussions between the Blue Jays and Ramirez reportedly did not get far.
That leaves the Athletics.
General manager Billy Beane said last week that he wants to add a veteran D.H. to help bolster the middle of the lineup. Athletics co-owner Lew Wolff has expressed his interest in adding Ramirez, who has 555 homers and a .312 batting average over 19 major league seasons.
The San Francisco Chronicle has reported that the A’s “are likely” to sign Ramirez just before or just after the team begins spring training this weekend.
Barry Praver, one of Ramirez’s agents, declined to comment Wednesday, but A’s officials have done nothing to dissuade speculation about Ramirez.
According to a Fox Sports report, while serving his suspension, Ramirez can play in spring training games and extended spring training games. When the regular season begins, Ramirez can work out with the major league team or a minor league squad, but he must leave the ballpark before the gates open.
Ramirez’s addition would add to an already intriguing A’s spring camp. The team created a buzz Monday by agreeing to a four-year, $36 million contract with highly touted Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, and there’s already thought as to whether Cespedes might bump Coco Crisp out of center field.
Crisp stressed his preference to stay in center.
“If someone feels there’s someone better than me, it’s hard for me to believe,” Crisp told the Chronicle. “Unless he’s a demigod come down from the heavens, no one is going to outshine me in center field.”
Athletics manager Bob Melvin told this newspaper he had no problem with Crisp’s stance.
“I’m not upset by his comments,” Melvin said. “I want him having that kind of confidence in playing center field. And in my opinion, he’s one of the best center fielders in the game.”