Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Athletics are likely to sign Manny Ramirez just before or soon after the start of spring training.
Makes sense. Nearly-free offense, at least potentially, and for at least part of the season following Ramirez serving his suspension. Wacko serial PED offenders are the new inefficiency, you know.
Of course it would create even more of a logjam in the corner outfielder/DH mix in Oakland, what with Seth Smith, Jonny Gomes, Kila Ka’aihue and several others hanging around, but it’s not like anyone in that mix represents The Future of the Franchise, so why not try to catch some lightning in a bottle?
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosh reports that the Cardinals are shutting down pitcher Carlos Martínez from throwing for two weeks because his shoulder strength isn’t where it should have been at this point. Langosch added that an MRI showed no structural damage in Martínez’s right shoulder.
Interestingly, president of baseball operations John Mozeliak didn’t sound too happy with Martínez offseason training regimen. Per Mark Saxon of The Athletic, Mozeliak said, “Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to that program.”
Martínez, 27, battled oblique and shoulder injuries last year. He accrued just 118 2/3 innings, making just 18 starts. He was moved to the bullpen when he returned from the disabled list in August and finished out the season in that role. Still, Martínez managed a 3.11 ERA with 117 strikeouts and 60 walks.
Langosch reported last week that the Cardinals were considering using Martínez in relief again in 2019. The latest news may push the Cardinals to indeed use Martínez out of the bullpen once again. He will be reevaluated in early March, but there is a chance he won’t be ready for Opening Day.