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Rays reportedly agree to terms with Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon

21

January

Free agent LF/DH Johnny Damon has agreed to terms with the Rays, and he said his former Red Sox teammate, Manny Ramirez, is "ready" to join him.

SI.com's Jon Heyman was first to report Friday night that Tampa Bay has agreed to a deal with Damon for $5.25 million (and could add $750,000) more in attendance bonuses. The SI.com report also stated Ramirez agreed to a deal for $2 million. Both deals are pending physicals.

The Rays declined to comment. 

They had hoped to acquire a hitter or two on the market, and if this becomes official, it'd be two pretty big names.

Damon, 37, reached via cell phone in the Dominican Republic, said he knew his agent, Scott Boras, and the Rays were working on something. And while he couldn't confirm the terms, he is excited to return to his "home state." He played in high school at Dr. Phillips in Orlando and was a Florida commitment before starting his professional career, and his family lives in Windermere.

"I am very excited to join an organization that has a very good chance to keep winning," Damon wrote in a text message. "And I love the opportunity to win in my home state, the team I will root for when my playing days are over. My family and I have been hoping for this for a while."

And what will it like to play with Ramirez again? The two won a World Series together with the Red Sox.

"It's going to be great, but also playing with 2 guys you want to start your franchise as a top choice throughout the league, (Evan) Longoria and (David) Price," Damon said. "And I know Manny's ready."

Boras, who represents both Ramirez and Damon, could not be immediately reached for comment.

In Damon, the Rays would land a potential leadoff hitter, someone who can play in left or rightfield. In landing Ramirez, 38, they could get a power bat at DH in the middle of the order, who could potentially offer protection for Evan Longoria.

Ramirez's numbers have dropped in recent seasons, including hitting just nine homers and 42 RBI in 90 games last season split between the Dodgers and White Sox. But the future Hall of Famer has been arguably one of the best hitters of his generation, and will provide a threat.

Damon spent a large part of his career with the Yankees and Red Sox, but played last season with the Tigers, hitting .271 with eight homers and 51 RBI.

-- JOE SMITH

joesmith@sptimes.com

 

[Last modified: Sunday, February 20, 2011 12:15am]

    

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