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.
Former Tigers infielder Casey McGehee has reportedly signed a one-year deal with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball, according to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal.
It’s the fourth move the corner infielder has made in the last two seasons after seeing short-term stints with the Marlins, Giants and Tigers. He signed a minor league deal with the Tigers prior to the 2016 season, providing the club with some infield depth behind 24-year-old Nick Castellanos. When Castellanos hit the disabled list in August with a broken hand, McGehee was recalled from Triple-A Toledo for a 30-game stint and slashed .228/.260/.239 with one extra-base hit in 96 PA. His career batting line (.258/.317/.384 over eight seasons) isn’t too shabby, but his age and a long history of knee injuries puts a damper on his potential.
McGehee last appeared in the NPB circuit in 2013, when he signed a one-year, $1.5 million deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. He spent the bulk of his season at the hot corner, batting an impressive .292/.396/.515 with 28 homers in 590 PA and appearing in the Eagles’ first and only championship run to date.
The deal comes with a club option for 2018, Rosenthal reports, though no figure has been specified.
Free agent left-hander Rich Hill is rumored to be entertaining a three-year, $40+ million offer from the Dodgers, reports Peter Gammons. The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo corroborated the report, adding that Hill could receive somewhere between $46 and $48 million from his former team.
Hill, 36, pitched to a 2.12 ERA and 3.91 FIP in back-to-back stints with the Athletics and Dodgers in 2016. While a chronic case of blisters on his pitching hand limited the frequency of his starts, he still figures to be one of the most productive and noteworthy starting pitchers on the market this winter.
The Orioles, Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Astros have all been mentioned as potential suitors for the left-hander’s services, though Orioles’ GM Dan Duquette said the club has yet to make a play for Hill and ESPN’s Jim Bowden pointed out that the Red Sox are less involved in trade talks than other interested parties.