Rays manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times earlier today that Manny Ramirez called him following his shocking retirement announcement Friday afternoon.
“He expressed disappointment in himself to me,” Maddon said, “but also had really high praise for us as an organization, as a group, so I felt pretty good about that.”
Asked if Ramirez apologized, Maddon said: “He just said he was disappointed, he didn’t necessarily apologize. And I wasn’t looking for an apology actually. I wasn’t. He spoke to me kinda like man to man, person to person, manager to player kind of a thing. So I didn’t think he owed me an apology.”
Ramirez doesn’t exactly come off as a sympathetic figure here. He foolishly failed his second (technically third) drug test, left a giant hole in the Rays’ lineup and didn’t even have the decency to speak with the team before making his decision official.
On a more playful note, Craig Robinson of Flip Flop Fly Ball has a must-click graphic of how much time Ramirez actually spent playing for the Rays. It’s not quite 10 minutes like Jonah Keri estimated, but it’s pretty darn close.
Free agent third baseman Mike Moustakas is drawing interest from at least four clubs, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reported Friday. The Brewers are the presumed frontrunners to land the infielder, but Heyman adds that the Angels may take the inside edge as Moustakas hails from the San Fernando Valley and has invested in charity efforts in California over the last year. The Phillies and Padres, on the other hand, have been involved to a lesser degree as they’re both thought to be in hot pursuit of fellow free agent third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though their interest in the veteran Moustakas could ramp right back up should they lose out on Machado in the weeks to come.
Moustakas, 30, declined a $15 million mutual option with the Brewers at the end of the 2018 season, and like many others left on the market, has yet to find a landing spot in advance of spring training. While he’s several years removed from his last All-Star performance, he ran a decent campaign with the Royals and Brewers last year, slashing a combined .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, a .774 OPS, and 2.4 fWAR across 635 plate appearances.
He certainly appears to be a fit in Anaheim, where he could supplant Zack Cozart at the hot corner and balance out the Angels’ right-heavy lineup alongside Kole Calhoun, Justin Bour, and Tommy La Stella. Even if the Angels have serious interest in the third baseman, however, they’re likely to wait and see what kind of contract Machado (and the as-yet unsigned Bryce Harper) fetches before extending any serious offers of their own. They’re far from the only club to use the four-time All-Star as a litmus test this offseason, which has only fueled a growing unrest among MLB players who believe that more serious action — such as a midseason walk-out or a league-wide strike — will need to be taken over the next few months.