Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this week that the Athletics were “likely” to sign Manny Ramirez just before or soon after the start of spring training, so the following information should come as no real surprise.
According to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, the Athletics still have “strong interest” in Ramirez and could reach an agreement on a contract as soon as the next few days or sometime next week.
If a deal is reached, McCauley writes that the 39-year-old would receive a contract for “slightly more than the league minimum of $480,000.” It’s not clear whether this would be as part of a guaranteed major-league deal or a minor-league deal. Just speculating, but it’s possible some other performance-based incentives would be included.
Ramirez would be eligible to participate during Cactus League action, but he would have to sit out the first 50 games of the regular season as he serves a suspension for his second positive PED test. Barring any rainouts, he could make his A’s debut as soon as June 2 against the Royals.
Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will opt out of his contract shortly after the World Series concludes. Cespedes, who earned $17.5 million for the 2016 season, has two years and $47.5 million remaining on his deal which includes an opt-out clause.
That Cespedes plans to opt out isn’t surprising as he’s almost certain to get a better contract entering a weak free agent market. He hit a terrific .280/.354/.530 with 31 home runs and 86 RBI in 543 plate appearances for the Mets this past season.
It remains to be seen how the Mets will deal with potentially losing Cespedes. They can pick up a $13 million club option for Jay Bruce, but he performed terribly after joining the Mets in a trade from the Reds. The Mets could also go after free agents Jose Bautista or Mark Trumbo. Curtis Granderson and Michael Conforto will handle the other two outfield positions.
Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday that former Red Sox DH David Ortiz and Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant won the 2016 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues.
Ortiz, 40, flourished in his final season, batting .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBI in 626 plate appearances during the regular season. His .620 slugging percentage, 1.021 OPS, and 48 doubles led the majors while his 127 RBI led the American League. Ortiz also won the Hank Aaron Award back in 2005.
Bryant, 24, is the likely winner of the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. He hit .292/.385/.554 with 39 home runs and 102 RBI over 699 plate appearances. He also led the league by scoring 121 runs. Bryant is the first Cub to win the Hank Aaron Award since Aramis Ramirez in 2008.
Last year’s winners in the AL and NL, respectively, were Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper.