Our long national nightmare is over. Free agent outfielder Manny Ramirez has signed with a team, and that team….is the outfield-rich Oakland Athletics. The deal is of the minor league variety, and will pay Ramirez $500,000. Ramirez will be forced to serve a 50 game suspension before he’s able to play in the majors this year.
Oakland has an absolute glut of outfielders now, highlighed by Ramirez and Cuban refugee Yoenis Cespedes, signed last week to a four year, $36 million deal. The rest of the players are mostly of the platoon variety, including Seth Smith, Collin Cowgill, Jonny Gomes, and Josh Reddick, not to mention Coco Crisp, an everyday player.
Imagine if the A’s let Ramirez get some playing time at AAA before calling him up to the majors. The outfield for AAA Sacramento could include Ramirez, Cespedes, and top prospect Michael Taylor. That’s a pretty damn talented outfield for an AAA team.
The A’s have had some success with bringing veterans that people thought were past their prime onto their team, like Frank Thomas (.926 OPS in 2006), Hideki Matsui (.696 OPS in 2011), and Shannon Stewart (.741 OPS in 2007). Thomas was the only smashing success, but given Ramirez’s low base salary, it’s a low risk, high reward signing for the A’s. The worst thing that can happen is that he flops, and that the A’s are out a hair above the league minimum in salary.
Photo courtesy of Daylife.com