Oh, what a night.
Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the Rays have agreed to terms with both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, pending physicals.
According to Heyman, Damon will receive a $5.25 million base salary with $750,000 worth of incentives based on attendance. Ramirez will get $2 million guaranteed. That’s right. Just $2 million. I think we have a new winner for best bargain contract of the offseason.
Are we sure the Rays are in rebuilding mode? Goodness. The American League East should be fun to watch this season.
Anyway, the additions of Damon and Ramirez all but guarantee that top prospect outfielder Desmond Jennings will begin the season with Triple-A Durham.
It’s not clear if Damon or Ramirez will be the primary left fielder in Tampa Bay, but let’s just state the obvious and say that either would be a tremendous downgrade from Carl Crawford.
UPDATE: Ken Davidoff of New York Newsday writes that agent Scott Boras conceived the idea of Damon and Ramirez as a package deal. Yeah, Damon’s deal isn’t necessarily a bargain, but at the combined price of $7.25 million, can you really complain?
UPDATE II: Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that Ramirez’s contract does not include any incentives. So, it’s a flat $2 million. Jeff Francoeur is making more ($2.5 million) than Ramirez this season. Just saying. He’ll take his physical with the Rays on Monday.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.