Blue Jays lock up Ricky Romero through at least 2015

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UPDATE: According to Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, the contract includes a club option for 2016.

3:08 PM: Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that the Blue Jays have signed Ricky Romero to a five-year, $30.1 million extension.

According to Rosenthal, it is the largest guarantee for any pitcher with less than two years of service time. The contract will cover the 2011-2015 seasons and if my calculations are correct, this would buy out his first year of free agency. It equals the deal given to Yovani Gallardo this April.

Romero, 25, is 22-16 over his first 52 major league starts, including a 3.53 ERA through 23 starts this season. 

An interesting contrast is Brett Anderson’s recent extension with the Athletics. He was signed to a four-year, $12.5 million contract with an $8 million club option for 2014 and a $12 million club option for 2015 (his first year of free agency). If he plays out the entire length of the contract, Anderson would have the chance to make $31 million, nearly equaling the Romero deal.

Not saying that the Romero deal is bad, necessarily, but Anderson’s deal comes with considerably less risk.

Report: Hanley Ramirez “eyed” in federal and state investigation

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Former Red Sox first baseman Hanley Ramirez is reportedly being “eyed” in an ongoing federal and state investigation, per Michele McPhee of ABC News. McPhee did not elaborate on the exact nature of the investigation itself, but provided a few more details during an interview with 98.5 The Sports Hub on Friday:

“Obviously, I know absolutely nothing about sports or Hanley Ramirez’s stats, but what I do know is crime,” McPhee said. “And there has been some reports about a FaceTime phone call that was made between a man during a car stop. After that car stop, police recovered a significant amount of drugs. And during that car stop, the suspect claimed that one of the items found in the vehicle belonged to Hanley Ramirez and then FaceTimed [Ramirez] in front of police. And that car stop coordinated with the timing of his release from the Red Sox.”

McPhee further clarified that she thinks the suspect — who was reportedly transporting 435 grams of fentanyl and a “large amount” of crack cocaine — was tied to “a sweeping federal case involving a substantial ring that’s being operated out of Lawrence, Massachusetts.”

Ramirez, the Red Sox, and Major League Baseball have all denied knowledge of any current investigation. According to the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier, Red Sox VP of media relations Kevin Gregg insisted that Ramirez had been dropped from the team for baseball reasons alone and had not been made aware of an investigation at the time of his release.

“Hanley has no knowledge of any of the allegations contained in this media report and he is not aware of any investigation,” the infielder’s agent, Adam Katz, added Friday.

The 34-year-old Ramirez was designated for assignment on May 25 and became a free agent on June 1. Prior to his release, he batted .254/.313/.395 over 195 plate appearances, 302 shy of the 497-PA threshold he would have needed to cross in order to activate his vesting option for 2019. He’s still owed the remainder of his $22 million salary for 2018.