Scott Miller on Manny Ramirez’s presence on the Oakland A’s: “unconscionable”

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Last week Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com made a series of tweets excoriating the Athletics for signing Manny Ramirez. He called the move “reprehensible” and said it was evidence that we lived in a “twisted world.”  He then promised to tear Manny and the A’s a new one when he visited their camp in Phoenix and wrote about him. It was not the typical thing you see from an experienced reporter and columnist.

After I wrote a post about that I had an email exchange with Miller. It was very pleasant, as Miller is an extremely polite and pleasant man. Not just my opinion, by the way. Others I know who have met him or corresponded with him have said the same thing and I have no doubt about it. Anyway, we didn’t come to any grand agreement in the exchange apart from us both agreeing that Twitter is odd.

Miller did say, however, that when he did meet Ramirez at A’s camp that he would give the story a fair shake, listen to what he had to say and what the A’s had to say about it all and that his resulting column would not be based exclusively on preconceived notions and his first, somewhat intemperate reaction to the Ramirez signing.

Well, Miller’s column is up, and it seems that Manny didn’t do anything to change his mind.

Indeed, Miller’s reaction was the same, if not even more extreme regarding the morals and ethics of signing Ramirez.  It’s “unconscionable,” Miller says. He concludes his story by saying “Right is right, and wrong is wrong. And this is wrong from every angle.”

Except there’s nothing in the story, complete with an interview with Ramirez, which explains why Miller feels this way apart from the fact that Manny has, in the past, been a serial jackass. Ramirez talks at length about how he has found religion and how it has set him straight (and, implicitly, how the way he behaved before was wrong).  He talks about a fresh start and trying to do right.  In the course of the interview, Ramirez is delivered flowers from “someone in Boston” — where Ramirez is supposed to be hated, if you believe the anti-Manny crowd — and Miller disapproves.

One anonymous player — and it’s not clear if it’s an A’s player, but I’ll assume it is — disapproves of Manny’s past transgressions. Those on the record have no problem with it. There is no information presented or argument made in the article that this is a bad move for the A’s financially or competitively. The entirety of Miller’s disapproval of Manny Ramirez  on the Oakland A’s is that he’s Manny Ramirez.

Which is fine. It’s Miller’s column and Miller’s opinion. But I just don’t see what, based on the nature of all of the men who have played before Manny Ramirez and still play this game despite being less-than-savory characters, makes the A’s signing of Ramirez so much worse than any number of other signings. Josh Leuke pled no contest to false imprisonment with violence after being charged with rape (and lied to the police and the Seattle Mariners about it).  Brett Myers punched his wife. There are a bunch of players, coaches and executives who have been arrested for drunk driving. These are all far worse things than testing positive for PEDs.

So why is Ramirez so bad? What is it about him that sets Miller — and others, I’ll grant — off when it comes to him?  I don’t know.  I really don’t know why Manny is such a lightning rod compared to others who have screwed up and annoyed us.

RHP Fairbanks, Rays agree to 3-year, $12 million contract

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Dave Nelson/USA TODAY Sports
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Reliever Pete Fairbanks and the Tampa Bay Rays avoided arbitration when they agreed Friday to a three-year, $12 million contract that could be worth up to $24.6 million over four seasons.

The deal includes salaries of $3,666,666 this year and $3,666,667 in each of the next two seasons. The Rays have a $7 million option for 2026 with a $1 million buyout.

His 2024 and 2025 salaries could increase by $300,000 each based on games finished in the previous season: $150,000 each for 35 and 40.

Tampa Bay’s option price could increase by up to $6 million, including $4 million for appearances: $1 million each for 60 and 70 in 2025; $500,000 for 125 from 2023-25 and $1 million each for 135, 150 and 165 from 2023-25. The option price could increase by $2 million for games finished in 2025: $500,000 each for 25, 30, 35 and 40.

Fairbanks also has a $500,000 award bonus for winning the Hoffman/Rivera reliever of the year award and $200,000 for finishing second or third.

The 29-year-old right-hander is 11-10 with a 2.98 ERA and 15 saves in 111 appearances, with all but two of the outings coming out of the bullpen since being acquired by the Rays from the Texas Rangers in July 2019.

Fairbanks was 0-0 with a 1.13 ERA in 24 appearances last year after beginning the season on the 60-day injured list with a right lat strain.

Fairbanks made his 2022 debut on July 17 and tied for the team lead with eight saves despite being sidelined more than three months. In addition, he is 0-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 12 career postseason appearances, all with Tampa Bay.

He had asked for a raise from $714,400 to $1.9 million when proposed arbitration salaries were exchanged Jan. 13, and the Rays had offered for $1.5 million.

Fairbanks’ agreement was announced two days after left-hander Jeffrey Springs agreed to a $31 million, four-year contract with Tampa Bay that could be worth $65.75 million over five seasons.

Tampa Bay remains scheduled for hearings with right-handers Jason Adam and Ryan Thompson, left-hander Colin Poche, third baseman Yandy Diaz and outfielder Harold Ramirez.