Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported earlier this week that the Athletics were “likely” to sign Manny Ramirez just before or soon after the start of spring training, so the following information should come as no real surprise.
According to Janie McCauley of the Associated Press, the Athletics still have “strong interest” in Ramirez and could reach an agreement on a contract as soon as the next few days or sometime next week.
If a deal is reached, McCauley writes that the 39-year-old would receive a contract for “slightly more than the league minimum of $480,000.” It’s not clear whether this would be as part of a guaranteed major-league deal or a minor-league deal. Just speculating, but it’s possible some other performance-based incentives would be included.
Ramirez would be eligible to participate during Cactus League action, but he would have to sit out the first 50 games of the regular season as he serves a suspension for his second positive PED test. Barring any rainouts, he could make his A’s debut as soon as June 2 against the Royals.
Barring physicals and roster reshuffling, the Yankees and Reds are all but ready to finalize a deal involving right-hander Sonny Gray, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reported Saturday. The exact return has not been confirmed, but Heyman hears that the Yankees will receive top infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick in exchange for Gray, with an as-yet unnamed third player possibly involved as well.
According to several reports earlier in the day, negotiations came down to the wire as the Yankees first had their eye on the Reds’ no. 6 prospect, 22-year-old catcher Tyler Stephenson. The Reds ultimately elected to hang on to Stephenson and send Long to New York, as they currently have a greater need for catching depth and weren’t expected to be able to provide a full-time role for the infielder in 2019. Long, 23, is ranked seventh in the Reds’ system and appears to be nearing his MLB debut after batting .261/.353/.412 with 12 homers and a .765 OPS across 522 PA at Double-A Pensacola last year.
Gray figures to step into a prominent role within the Reds’ rotation, which is likely to be a mix of recently-acquired left-hander Alex Wood and right-handers Tanner Roark, Luis Castillo, Anthony DeSclafani, and Tyler Mahle, among several others. Despite Gray’s struggle to remain productive on the mound — he’s three years removed from his only All-Star campaign and turned in a disappointing 4.90 ERA and 2.16 SO/BB rate in 2018 — he might yet help stabilize a team that trotted out the fifth-worst rotation in the majors last season. If, on the other hand, the veteran righty finds the hitter-friendly confines of Great American Ball Park a little too unforgiving this year, the Reds can take some comfort in the fact that he’s due to enter free agency in 2020.