The Oakland A's and Manny Ramirez had been connected in contract talks for several weeks, so it was no surprise on Monday when the team announced officially that they had come to terms with Ramirez on a one-year deal. According to several reports, the deal is worth $500,000. In a team-issued press release, the A's stated that Ramirez will join the team for spring training by the end of the week.
Ramirez won't be eligible to play for the A's until late May. He was suspended for violating baseball's steroid policy only a week into the 2011 season. It was Ramirez's second violation of that policy and instead of serving the 100-game suspension last year, he abruptly announced his retirement from baseball. Ramirez was playing for the Tampa Bay Rays at the time.
Because Ramirez sat out the entire 2011 season, his suspension was shortened in half from 100 games to 50. He will be allowed to work out with the A's and participate in spring training games and extended spring training games. However, he won't be eligible to play in games that "count" at the major-league and minor-league levels until he begins a minor league rehab assignment towards the end of his suspension period. That minor league rehab assignment can span only 10 games.
Ramirez is one of the most recognizable baseball players of the past 20 years. Often controversial because of his seemingly aloof attitude, Ramirez has unquestionably been one of the top right-handed hitters of his generation. He is a career .312 hitter with a .411 OBP and a 996 OPS. He has 555 career homeruns and has been part of two World Series winning teams, both coming with the Boston Red Sox. This will be Ramirez's 20th season in the major leagues, should he make the A's roster at any point during the season.
Ramirez has been a left-fielder for most of his career, but he is expected to be a DH if and when he joins the A's squad during the regular season. A's designated hitters posted a collective 696 OPS with 18 homeruns and 91 RBIs last season.