Remember the first time Manny Ramirez got a drug suspension and then got all kinds of crap because he was allowed to go on a triple-A rehab assignment before the 50 games was up? Yeah, it seems like a long time ago that people cared that much about what Manny did.
He’s doing it again. Starting Sunday, when he’ll report to Sacramento to serve out the last few days of his latest suspension and then join the Oakland A’s. And, as he told Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, he’s excited about it:
“I will be ready. I’m going to go crazy to please the fans.”
“I will do anything — absolutely anything I need to do — in order to hit home runs and make the fans happy,” he did not add, because presumably he has at least a modicum of self-awareness.
Seriously, this is an interesting time for Manny and the A’s. At 19-17, Oakland is exceeding expectations and is actually to stir a little something in a fan base thought dead. If Manny comes back and keeps the A’s humming at a respectable level — or even spurs them into sustained contention — the Manny narrative becomes something totally different than it has been for him for the past couple of years.
If, however, his return coincides with Oakland going on a skid — whether he produces or not — will he get the blame for it? Will he be characterized as poison?
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.