Report: Damon, Ramirez sign with Rays

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Report: Damon, Ramirez sign with Rays

Associated Press

Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon are about to become teammates again, this time in Tampa Bay.Both free-agent outfielders agreed toone-year contracts with the Rays, a person familiar with thenegotiations told The Associated Press on Friday night. The personspoke on condition of anonymity because the agreements were subject tophysicals and had not been announced.Damon gets 5.25 million and thechance to earn 750,000 in bonuses based on attendance, the personsaid. Ramirez gets 2 million.The moves mark the first majoradditions for the AL East champions after a devastating offseason inwhich one prominent player after another left cost-cutting Tampa Bay.Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena and RafaelSoriano signed elsewhere as free agents. Matt Garza and Jason Bartlettwere traded. A strong bullpen was depleted by the losses of JoaquinBenoit, Grant Balfour, Dan Wheeler, Randy Choate and Chad Qualls.Ramirez and Damon played together forfour years in Boston and helped lead the Red Sox to the 2004 WorldSeries title - ending the team's 86-year championship drought. Bothcolorful characters are well past their primes, but if nothing elsethey could at least provide an attraction at Tropicana Field for a Raysteam that drew just 1.86 million fans last year.The 38-year-old Ramirez began lastseason with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then was claimed on waivers latein the summer by the Chicago White Sox. He hit a combined .298 withnine homers and 42 RBIs in the final season of a 45 million, two-yearcontract he signed with the Dodgers.Hampered by injuries, the longtimeslugger had 320 plate appearances in 90 games. Still a power threat, helikely will be a designated hitter for the Rays.Ramirez's career took a downward turn in May 2009 when he was suspended 50 games for using a banned female fertility drug.The 12-time All-Star has 555 homeruns, good for 14th on the career list, and 1,830 RBIs, which ranks18th. He also helped Boston win the 2007 World Series, then was tradedto the Dodgers the following season.The 37-year-old Damon spent lastseason with the Detroit Tigers, batting .271 with eight homers and 51RBIs, mostly as a DH. Weak-armed in left field and no longer the stolenbase threat he once was, Damon remains very durable - he played 145games last year and hit 36 doubles in 539 at-bats.Damon, who is from nearby Orlando,can pad his paycheck by making a difference at the gate. He would get150,000 each for 1.75 million, 1.85 million, 1.95 million, 2.05million and 2.15 million in home attendance.A two-time All-Star, Damon spentfour years with the New York Yankees and helped them win the 2009 WorldSeries. They let him leave as a free agent and he signed an 8 million,one-year deal with Detroit.

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