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.

Yankees re-sign Jon Niese to a minor league deal

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The Yankees have re-signed pitcher Jon Niese to a minor league contract, George A. King III of the New York Post reports. Niese was released on Sunday, but he’ll stick around and provide rotation depth for the Yankees.

Niese had knee surgery last August and got a late start to spring training as a result. In six spring appearances lasting an inning each, the lefty gave up three earned runs on five hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

Niese, a veteran of nine seasons, put up an aggregate 5.50 ERA with an 88/47 K/BB ratio in 121 innings last season between the Pirates and Mets.

Orioles acquire Alec Asher from the Phillies

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The Phillies announced on Tuesday that the club traded pitcher Alec Asher to the Orioles for a player to be named later.

Asher, 25, was the victim of a roster crunch. He was not going to make the 25-man roster and the starting rotation at Triple-A Lehigh Valley was already full. The Phillies acquired him from the Rangers in the July 2015 Cole Hamels trade.

Asher had good results in 27 2/3 innings in the big leagues last year, posting a 2.28 ERA with a 13/4 K/BB ratio. While it didn’t show in those stats, the right-hander sometimes struggles with command and he doesn’t miss bats often enough to make up for it. The Orioles, however, are happy to add some pitching depth.