Manny Ramirez

What Manny Ramirez brings the A’s

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Here’s was Oakland’s projected lineup two weeks ago:

2B Jemile Weeks – S
CF Coco Crisp – S
LF Seth Smith – L
C Kurt Suzuki – R
RF Josh Reddick – L
3B Scott Sizemore – R
DH Brandon Allen – L
1B Daric Barton – L
SS Cliff Pennington – S

And here’s what it might look like come the end of May:

2B Jemile Weeks – S
LF Coco Crisp – S
RF Seth Smith – L
DH Manny Ramirez – R
CF Yoenis Cespedes – R
C Kurt Suzuki – R
1B Daric Barton – L
3B Scott Sizemore – R
SS Cliff Pennington – S

Of course, that’s far from set in stone. Maybe Cespedes won’t prove ready, and Josh Reddick will be penciled back into right field. Maybe Ramirez decides this whole comeback thing isn’t a good idea after all and returns to the Dominican Republic.

But let’s face it, no major league lineup should have Kurt Suzuki batting cleanup.

I’m not sure what Ramirez has left. With the news that he was joining the A’s, I revised his 2012 projection to .260/.372/.431 with 11 homers and 46 RBI in 304 at-bats, but that’s just a wild guess (as a free agent, I had him projected at .271/.381/.452, but that was for a neutral hitting environment).

The A’s really had nothing to lose by going into the Manny business. It’s not as though the fans could get much more apathetic. Plus, since they’ll be without him for the first 50 games anyway, they’ll still have time to evaluate whether Brandon Allen should be in their plans and take a longer look at Reddick.

I don’t think there’s a whole lot to gain, either, especially considering the going rate for veteran DHs, but the A’s are a little more interesting now and that’s something.

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.