The Oakland Athletics have signed 39-year-old slugger Manny Ramirez for what may be the bargain basement deal of the year. ESPN's Pedro Gomez reported that the deal with Ramirez is worth about $500,000.
Of course the veteran will have to serve a 50-game suspension without pay before playing for the A's due to violating baseball's drug policy for the second time. Initially, Ramirez was given a 100-game suspension last April, but announced that he was retiring, nulling that suspension. In December, he changed his mind and asked to be reinstated and was given the reinstatement on the stipulation that he serve a 50-game suspension if he was signed.
Barring any rainouts, the first game we could see Ramirez in would be June 2 at Kansas City. Although Ramirez has quite the checkered past, Gomez stated that when he met with the player in his south Florida home in late December, he seemed like a changed man. Gomez was enthusiastic about the new outlook that Ramirez seemed to have and how grateful he seems to be about getting another chance this late in his career.
Ramirez made $20 million a year with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but is thankful to be making a half million with the A's. Ramirez told Gomez that he would rather make the $500,000 with the "Lord in his heart," than $20 million without him.
If Ramirez has made a 180 degree turnaround, he could be a boon to the A's when he's allowed to get back on the field. He ranks 14th on the all-time home run list with 555 home runs, and has a batting average of .312.
There is no denying that there'll be some exciting players to watch this year in Oakland. In addition to Ramirez, the A's snagged the Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes to a four-year contract worth $36 million. Although the move was deemed extremely questionable by many, considering the exorbitant amount of money Oakland shelled out for someone who's never played in the major leagues, there is no doubt that all eyes will be on the outfielder to see how he performs. In Cuba, Cespedes hit .333 with 33 home runs and 99 RBIs in just 90 games.
With spring training beginning and the 2012 season getting underway in just weeks, fans will have a lot to look forward to this year. Good, bad or indifferent, it will still be exciting.
K.C. Dermody grew up in the Bay Area of California, following the Oakland Athletics since the days of Billy Ball, and attending hundreds of games over the past three decades. Follow her at www.facebook.com/KCDermodyWriter, Twitter @kcdermody, or www.kcdermodywriter.com.
- Oakland Athletics
- Manny Ramirez
- Pedro Gomez