White Sox reportedly planning waiver claim on Manny Ramirez

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com wrote this morning that “claiming Manny Ramirez off waivers would be nuts.” And now he’s reporting that the White Sox plan to place a waiver claim on Ramirez.
General manager Ken Williams and the White Sox were said to be interested in Ramirez prior to the July 31 trade deadline, so Chicago’s apparent willingness to take what now amounts to little more than a $4 million flier on the 38-year-old slugger certainly isn’t surprising. Or particularly crazy, despite what Rosenthal suggests.
Ramirez certainly isn’t the dominant offensive force he once was and has also been limited to just 62 games because of injuries, but if reasonably healthy he’s still a damn good bat. He’s hit .312/.404/.508 overall this season, which is good for a .912 OPS that ranks seventh among all MLB outfielders with at least 200 plate appearances.
Beyond that, the White Sox’s have a gaping hole at designated hitter caused by the misguided decision not to re-sign Jim Thome at manager Ozzie Guillen’s urging this offseason. Thome has been amazing for the Twins with a .269/.393/.583 mark that tops the measly .237/.308/.401 cumulative production from the White Sox’s designated hitters by 267 points of OPS.
Ramirez can’t get back the production and games lost by choosing to replace Thome with Mark Kotsay, but his still-powerful right-handed bat would fit very well into the White Sox’s lineup and by using him primarily at DH they could cross “defense” off the list of potential issues.
Of course, just because the White Sox are planning to place a waiver claim on Ramirez doesn’t mean a team in front of them won’t do the same, and even if Chicago ends up with the winning claim they’d still have to work out a deal for him unless the Dodgers are simply willing to give him away to save money.
As usual, Ken Williams has plenty of gamble in him.

Mets leaning on Jay Bruce, Neil Walker as Lucas Duda insurance

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - MAY 12:  Pinch hitter Lucas Duda #21 of the New York Mets walks back to the dugout after striking out for the first out of the ninth inning against Clayton Kershaw #22 of the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on May 12, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.  The Dodgers won 5-0.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.

Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”

Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”

The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.

Jason Kipnis diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Jason Kipnis #22 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after scoring a run on a wild pitch thrown by Jon Lester #34 of the Chicago Cubs (not pictured) during the fifth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.

There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.

Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.