Report: Damon, Ramirez sign with Rays

191542.jpg

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.

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Youkilis weighs in on Valentine possibly being Japan ambassador

Among the reactions to the news that Bobby Valentine was possibly being considered to be the US amassador to Japan in President Donald Trump’s administration was this beauty from Kevin Youkilis. 

Valentine famously called out Youkilis early in his stormy tenure as Red Sox manager in 2012. Remember? "I don't think he's as physically or emotionally into the game as he has been in the past for some reason," Bobby V said of Youk at the time. 

The Red Sox traded Youkilis to the White Sox for two not-future Hall of Famers, outfielder Brent Lillibridge and right-hander Zach Stewart, later that season.

Youkilis, now Tom Brady’s brother-in-law by the way, had a 21-game stint playing in Japan in 2014 before retiring from baseball. 

 

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Report: Bobby Valentine could be Trump’s US ambassador to Japan

Major league manager. Inventor of the wrap sandwich. Champion ballroom dancer.  And…

US ambassador to Japan?

Bobby Valentine is on the short list for that position in President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a WEEI.com report.

The former Red Sox manager (fired after a 69-93 season and last-place finish in 2012), and ex-New York Mets and Texas Rangers, skipper, also managed the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons. 

When asked by the New York Daily News if he's being considered for the post, Valentine responded: "I haven't been contacted by anyone on Trump's team." 

Would he be interested?

"I don't like to deal in hypotheticals," Valentine told the Daily News.

Valentine, 66, has known the President-elect and Trump's brother Bob since the 1980s, is close to others on Trump’s transition team and has had preliminary discussions about the ambassador position, sources told WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. 

Valentine, currently the athletic director of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., is also friendly with current Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who, like Valentine, attended the University of Southern California.