The Idiots are reunited. Late Friday night, both Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez agreed to a package deal that will have them playing in Tampa Bay in 2011.
According to Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman, the deals will be final assuming both played pass their physicals. Damon is signing for $5.25 million (making him the high-paid Ray), plus attendance bonuses worth $750,000, while Ramirez will get $2 million. Both players are represented by Scott Boras.
Damon spent 2010 with the Detroit Tigers, and hit .271/.355/.401; Ramirez split time with both the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox last season, hitting .298/.409./.460 (in only 90 games). The two players combined for just 17 home runs in 2010, but both posted an above-average OPS+ (Ramirez had a 138 OPS+).
Our Rays blog, DRaysBay, is "still in shock," saying it "feels like something out of a dream."
Manny Ramirez is a bit tougher to project. He missed some time last season due to injuries, and scouts seem to feel that his bad speed has declined. Maybe this was a result of his injury or maybe it's for real: after all, the man will be 39 years old this season. However, even with battling injuries and a declining bat, Manny posted a .298 / .409 / .460 line, good for a .870 OPS and a .382 wOBA. That's a better line than anyone on the Rays posted last season, including Longoria and Crawford; Longoria had a higher slugging yet lower on base percentage and wOBA, while Crawford had a higher batting average and slugging, yet lower everything else. Even if Manny's bat doesn't improve any from last season, he's still an incredible hitter and will likely be the best DH the Rays have ever had.
The Rays have lost 1B Carlos Pena, LF Carl Crawford, RF Rocco Baldelli, RF Brad Hawpe and RF Gabe Kapler to free agency this offseason.