Manny Ramirez, new team member of the Chicago White Sox, looks on during batting practice prior to the White Sox MLB American League baseball game against the Cleveland Indians in Cleveland

Rangers “going after” free agent slugger Manny Ramirez

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On Thursday, Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes filed a report claiming that free agent Manny Ramirez would likely sign with a new team by the beginning of next week.  Now T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com is reporting that the Rangers are “going after” him.

A couple of other clubs have been linked to Ramirez, including the Angels, Blue Jays and Rays.  But Anaheim may prefer to give Vladimir Guerrero another try and the Rays are nearing an agreement with Johnny Damon.  If the Rangers really want Manny, Toronto looks to be their only competition.

And the Jays haven’t been overly aggressive to this point.

The Rangers committed to starting Michael Young at DH when they signed a big free agent deal with third baseman Adrian Beltre earlier this winter, but they can get Young more action at first base and move Mitch Moreland to a part-time role if Ramirez is brought aboard.

Manny posted a strong .870 OPS across 320 total plate appearances last season between the Dodgers and White Sox.  He still has some power and it could be showcased well at the Ballpark in Arlington if the 38-year-old is truly motivated.  He currently boasts a .315/.418/.486 career line at the cozy stadium.

Athletics sign Santiago Casilla to two-year, $11 million deal

MIAMI, FL - AUGUST 10: Santiago Casilla #46 of the San Francisco Giants throws a pitch during the 9th inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park on August 10, 2016 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Eric Espada/Getty Images)
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After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.

Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system. Who has the worst?

PHOENIX, AZ - APRIL 06:  General manager Dave Stewart of the Arizona Diamondbacks laughs on the field before the Opening Day MLB game against the San Francisco Giants at Chase Field on April 6, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.

For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.