The Yankees sign Luis Vizcaino

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Gotta hand it to the Yankees: they really know how to counter a move.  The Phillies get Cliff Lee? Bam! New York gets Mark Prior.  The Brewers snag Zack Greinke? Bam! New Yorks signs Luis Vizcaino.

OK, that’s not fair. I know those moves aren’t in response to anything and would have happened anyway.  I do think their timing is kind of amusing, though, because it makes me imagine an alternative reality in which the Yankees are barely able to stay afloat, live off of scrap-heap signings and bank everything on lighting-in-a-bottle performances. In this mini-fantasy, Brian Cashman  transforms from his current self preaching patience about the team’s offseason plans into a 20-year older version of himself, more disheveled, pleading with Yankees fans to have patience because it takes a lot of time to build a winning team.

Yeah, I have lame fantasies.

Anyway, Vizcaino used to be with the Yankees and is late of Cleveland, where he hasn’t pitched in the majors since June 2009. His top end is probably garbage-time middle-reliever, the sort of which rarely if ever get their own posts here at HBT.

But hey, if it gives me an opportunity to imagine the Yankees as a struggling mid-market team in the middle of its third five-year plan in the past decade it’s totally worth it.

The Red Sox designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment

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The Boston Red Sox plan to activate Dustin Pedroia from the disabled list today. That’s a big deal. The move they’re making to make room for him on the roster is a big one too: they plan to designate Hanley Ramirez for assignment.

The Boston Globe’s Alex Speier first reported the impending transaction. He was told by a major league source that Ramirez was informed this morning he’ll be moved off the roster. A designation for assignment, of course, means that the Sox have seven days to either trade or release Ramirez.

Ramirez, 34, is experiencing his worst season as a major leaguer thus far, hitting .254/.313/.395 (88 OPS+) in 195 plate appearances as he split time between first base and designated hitter. Given how well Mitch Moreland has hit at first and J.D. Martinez has hit at DH, there is simply no room for Ramirez in the lineup.

Ramirez, a 14-year big league veteran, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year Award and won the NL batting title in 2009. He has been a below average hitter in three of his last four seasons, however, and long removed from his days as a middle infielder, he has little defensive value these days. That said, his fame and the possibility that he could put together a decent run if used wisely will likely get him some looks from other clubs.