Report: Rays agree to terms with Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez

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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.

Jered Weaver dealing with “dead arm”

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Padres starter Jered Weaver lasted just two-thirds of an inning in Wednesday afternoon’s Cactus League appearance against the Royals. He yielded four runs on three hits, throwing 31 pitches before getting pulled. His spring ERA now sits at an ugly 10.13.

Weaver said he’s been dealing with a “dead arm” since his last bullpen session, but added he’s dealt with the issue in previous springs, Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

The Padres signed Weaver to a one-year, $3 million contract last month. The right-hander is coming off of the worst season of his 11-year career. His fastball averaged a career-low 83 MPH and he put up a 5.06 ERA with a 103/51 K/BB ratio in 178 innings.

Ian Kinsler doesn’t think Puerto Rico or Dominican Republic players play the game the right way

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Update: Whoops…

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Earlier, Craig wrote about Dan Duquette’s dogwhistle language in his criticism of Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista. We have some more dogwhistling, this time coming from Tigers (and Team U.S.) second baseman Ian Kinsler. Via Billy Witz of The New York Times:

I hope kids watching the W.B.C. can watch the way we play the game and appreciate the way we play the game as opposed to the way Puerto Rico plays or the Dominican plays. That’s not taking anything away from them. That just wasn’t the way we were raised. They were raised differently and to show emotion and passion when you play. We do show emotion; we do show passion. But we just do it in a different way.

The goal of the World Baseball Classic, created by Major League Baseball, is to promote baseball across the globe. It’s players like Puerto Rico’s Javier Baez who are doing the best job in that regard, not boring white guys from the U.S. Potential baseball fans are not swayed into liking the sport when a player hits a home run and solemnly puts his head down to stroll the bases. They get excited and energized when players show emotion, flip their bats, celebrate. Baez did more to make baseball appeal to new and lapsed audiences with his premature celebration tag than the entire U.S. team has done this tournament.

Furthermore, it is hypocritical to want to diversify the sport’s audience while squelching incoming cultures.

Jim Leyland also got in on the action:

Go Puerto Rico.