Athletics general manager Billy Beane said during the Winter Meetings last month that he would prefer to go younger at designated hitter this season, but despite having a number of internal options, things might not work out that way.
Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes Los Angeles was told by a source (link in Spanish) that Oakland is “very interested” in Manny Ramirez, who is currently preparing for his comeback attempt in Miami.
We learned a couple of weeks ago that the Orioles and Blue Jays sent scouts to watch Ramirez take batting practice. Rojas was told that while Baltimore “liked” what they saw, the A’s are the team showing the most interest, despite the fact that they haven’t actually seen him in person yet. The 39-year-old is expected to hold a workout for interested teams before the end of the month, so if Rojas’ source is correct, they’ll presumably take a look at him within the next few days.
If or when Ramirez signs with an MLB team, he’ll have to serve a reduced 50-game suspension for his second positive PED test before being eligible to play during the regular season. However, he would be allowed to suit up during spring training.
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.