Damon, Ramirez reunited with Rays
Ex-Sox teammates get one-year deals
Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon are about to become teammates again, this time in Tampa Bay.
Both free agent outfielders agreed to one-year contracts with the Rays, a person familiar with the negotiations told the Associated Press last night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the agreements had not been announced.
Damon gets $5.25 million and the chance to earn $750,000 in bonuses based on attendance, the person said. Ramirez gets $2 million.
The moves mark the first major additions for the AL East champions after a devastating offseason in which one prominent player after another left cost-conscious Tampa Bay.
Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, and Rafael Soriano signed elsewhere as free agents. Matt Garza and Jason Bartlett were traded. A strong bullpen was depleted by the losses of Joaquin Benoit, Dan Wheeler, and Chad Qualls.
Ramirez and Damon played together for years in Boston and helped lead the Red Sox to the 2004 World Series title. Both colorful characters are past their prime, but if nothing else they could at least provide an attraction at Tropicana Field.
Ramirez, 38, began last season with the Dodgers, then was claimed on waivers late in the summer by the White Sox. He hit a combined .298 with nine homers and 42 RBIs in the final season of a $45 million, two-year contract. Ramirez’s career took a downward turn in May 2009, when he was suspended 50 games for using a banned female fertility drug. Damon, 37, hit .271 last season with a .756 OPS in 549 at-bats for the Tigers.
The Rays also signed former Red Sox and Mets outfielder Chris Carter.
Angels acquire Wells
The Angels acquired All-Star center fielder Vernon Wells from Toronto for catcher Mike Napoli and outfielder Juan Rivera in one of baseball’s biggest trades this offseason.
“Moving forward and starting this new chapter is going to be a blast,’’ said Wells. Wells, 32, has four years and $86 million left on the $126 million, seven-year contract he signed with Toronto. He waived his full no-trade clause to join the Angels.
Ruling in Bonds case Some of Barry Bonds’s former teammates, along with other retired players and perhaps current player Jason Giambi, will have to testify at the slugger’s upcoming perjury trial, a federal judge said in San Francisco. Lawyers for Bonds argued at a hearing before US District Court Judge Susan Illston that the players should be excluded because of their ties to Bonds’s former trainer Greg Anderson, who is refusing to testify against the slugger. Dressed in a dark suit and slimmed down from his playing days, Bonds sat attentively at his lawyers’ table in front of the judge during the hearing. On the prosecution witness list are Giambi and retired players Marvin Benard, Jeremy Giambi, Armando Rios, Benito Santiago, Bobby Estallela, Randy Velarde, and retired NFL player Larry Izzo, a former Patriot . . . Roger Clemens asked a judge to dismiss his indictment on charges of obstructing a congressional investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. A motion filed in Washington by Clemens’s attorneys argues the indictment is vague and contains too many separate accusations of lying in one count. Also, prosecutors filed a motion to prevent Clemens’s lawyer from cross-examining his ex-teammate Andy Pettitte over claims that Clemens lied about using PEDs.
Hamilton takes cuts Rangers outfielder and AL MVP Josh Hamilton, who spent six days in the hospital for pneumonia last week, said he was feeling about “90 percent’’ as he took batting practice on his third day since resuming baseball activities . . . Former major league infielder Tim Teufel was named manager of the Mets’ Triple A Buffalo affiliate. Former Red Sox DH Mike Easler was hired as Buffalo’s hitting coach . . . Ex-Twins infielder Nick Punto agreed to a $750,000, one-year contract with the Cardinals . . . The White Sox picked up their 2012 option on manager Ozzie Guillen’s contract . . . The Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs announced the extension of their player development contract for two years. The extension keeps the Red Sox Eastern League Double A affiliate in Portland through at least 2014.