Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes reports that the Angels, Twins, Rangers, Rays, and Blue Jays are among “at least five teams” to express interest in Manny Ramirez, which is a surprise given how little speculation has surrounded him publicly throughout the offseason.
Rojas writes that Ramirez has been training in Arizona in an effort to show he can still be used in left field in addition to designated hitter. Or as Google amusingly translates Rojas’ story from Spanish to English: Ramirez is preparing “to work in the gardens if necessary.”
Garden work or not, Ramirez will likely need to wait until Jim Thome chooses a home for 2011, because the Twins and Rangers are said to be bidding on Thome and he’s the biggest DH domino to fall in front of guys like Ramirez, Vladimir Guerrero, and Johnny Damon.
Ramirez was a non-factor for the White Sox down the stretch after they claimed him off waivers from the Dodgers, but still hit .298 with a .409 on-base percentage and .460 slugging percentage in 90 games overall last season, which is good for an .870 OPS that ranked 10th among all outfielders and designated hitters with 300 or more plate appearances.
UPDATE: You can cross the Twins off the Ramirez list, as they’ve re-signed Thome. And now that everyone’s top DH target is off the market, interest in Guerrero and Ramirez should pick up.