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.

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

McAdam: Poor homestand puts Red Sox on tough road

The Red Sox had their chance.

They could have beefed up during the just-completed homestand and taken advantage of the worst team in the American League (Minnesota) and another that was only three games over .500 when it came to town (Detroit).

Instead, the Red Sox were just 2-5 in the last seven games at Fenway, losing ground in the standings to the Orioles and Blue Jays rather than making the race tighter.

That's not to suggest the Red Sox played their way out of contention in the last week. There are better than two months remaining in the season and the schedule isn't yet two-thirds complete.

Moreover, there is no dominant team in the East, and, thus, no one capable of pulling away and leaving the rest of the teams in their wake.

Baltimore and Toronto are flawed, too, as the first 100 or so games of the season have demonstrated.

But what the disappointing homestand means is this: Because they didn't win as much as they should at Fenway in the last week, the Sox will have to make up for that on the road.

As has been talked about ad nauseum in the last week, the schedule is about to become more demanding for the Red Sox. It's bad enough that they're in the middle of a stretch that will see them enjoy one (1) day off in the span of 44 days. Making matters worse is that 41 of the final 63 games are away from home -- including the next 11.

Put another way: The Red Sox have not yet had a three-city road trip this season, but all four of their remaining trips are of the three-city variety, including two that include travel to the West Coast.

The Red Sox have played fairly well on the road (21-19) -- they're one of just four teams in the American League with a winning road record -- but the simple fact remains: It's harder to win on the road than it is at home. And that's before you take into consideration the toll that lengthy road trips can take.

Of the next three road opponents, one has a losing record, and another is just two games over .500. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers, next weekend's interleauge road opponent, are playoff contenders from among that group.

Then again, the Red Sox thought they could roll over the Twins last weekend and came away with a four-game split, so it's difficult to handicap these things.

It should help, too, that the Red Sox are getting healthier.

Junichi Tazawa returned this week, and Craig Kimbrel could be back as early as Monday in Seattle. Chris Young and Josh Rutledge could rejoin them before they head out on their next road swing in mid-August.

With all the talk of the daunting schedule and demanding travel ahead, Dustin Pedroia was having none of it.

"We can play just as well on the road as we have at home,'' said Pedroia. "That stuff (the schedule) is irrelevant.''

Maybe. But one way or another, we're about to find out.

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

Source: Sox seek smaller pieces, not big names, at trade deadline

BOSTON -- According to an N.L. talent evaluator who is familiar with some of the Red Sox ongoing talks with teams leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline, the Sox seem focused on adding a bullpen piece and/or back-end starters.

The need for the former is rather obvious, given the current injuries to Criag Kimbrel and Koji Uehara. The Sox can use some upgrades and another experienced arm to guide them through the final two months.

As for the rotation, it's not a surprise that the Sox aren't serious bidders for more glamorous names like Chris Sale, since that would require them to gut their farm system.

But the team's starter depth is perilous, with only Clay Buchholz in reserve. It makes perfect sense that the Sox would be seeking someone else to help provide them with insurance against further injuries or under-performance.

Will Red Sox' recent poor homestand come back to haunt them?

Will Red Sox' recent poor homestand come back to haunt them?

Lou Merloni joins Early Edition to discuss whether he thinks the Red Sox poor homestand against the Twins and Tigers will ultimately come back to haunt them.