O’s remain interested in Manny
The Orioles have had “exploratory talks” with free agent slugger Manny Ramirez’s agent, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed on Monday’s conference call.
Duquette– fresh off a trade with the Rockies that netted Baltimore pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom — confirmed the O’s long rumored interest in Ramirez and that the team had watched him workout.
“We are still considering the composition of this club, and some of the challenges of integrating a player like Manny into our ballclub and market,” said Duquette, who had Ramirez as a player in Boston.
Ramirez, who retired briefly last season, will face a 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball’s drug policy should he sign a new contract and play in 2012. While he would come at a cheaper cost than another designated hitter type on the market, such as Johnny Damon, Ramirez also comes with significant drawbacks. In addition to the suspension, Ramirez typically brings a media circus, and it’s unclear how his antics, which spawned the phrase “Manny being Manny,” would play out under manager Buck Showalter’s watch.
Ramirez is rumored to have interest from at least two other clubs, Toronto and Oakland, and he would almost certainly have to sign a Minor League deal given his suspension. The Orioles, who are still seeking to upgrade their bullpen before Spring Training, remain interested in adding a veteran bat –like Ramirez – as well.