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>Tampa Sign Johnny Damon and Many

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Manny Ramirez(notes) and Johnny Damon(notes) 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 on
Friday night. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because
the agreements were subject to physicals and 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-cutting Tampa Bay.
Carl Crawford(notes), Carlos Pena and Rafael Soriano(notes)

 signed elsewhere as free agents. Matt Garza(notes)
 and Jason Bartlett(notes) were traded. A strong
bullpen was depleted by the losses of
Joaquin Benoit(notes), Grant Balfour(notes),Dan Wheeler(notes),
Randy Choate(notes) and Chad Qualls(notes).

Isn’t it odd. The Yankees offered Damon,
who lives in Windermere, FL, just forty-five
minutes to an hour from Tampa, only five
million dollars to sign two years ago. Damon
 went on to Detroit whee he did a good job.

Carol Crawford signed with the Boston Red
Sox. He is being rewarded with a $142 million
contract over seven years, that’s more than
twenty million dollars a year. That’s five
million more a year than Jeeter got by signing
with the Yankees in 2011. But many people
feel that that .270 average Jeeter hit last
season is all he’s got left in him.

What happened to Jeeter’s three hundred
lifetime batting average. One season
knocked it all to…###### and if he fails
to bring it up, he won’t be long on the
Yankees team, despite the contract.
The Yankees have a much faster, better
 defending shortstop in their system right now.

I think Brain Cashman should have brought up this kid and
 started him at shortstop and moved Jeeter over to third
, making A-Rod become the DH.

Baseball is just around the corner and I can’t wait.
I know Crawford is grinding his cleats in the turf in
Houston, his home town, running around the high
school track and doing whatever he can to get or
stay in shape.

That’s what is wrong with the Yankees. They’re
loaded with old timers who don’t care about
conditioning prior to showing up at spring training..
I mean A-Rod, jeeter, CC Sabathia, Jorge Posada,
and a bunch of starting pitchers.

Isn’t it weird how some of the best players elude
 the Yankees. I’m not saying that Ramirez and
 Damon are two of the league’s best,

Ramirez and Damon played together for four years
in Boston and helped lead the Red Sox to the 2004
World Series title—ending the team’s 86-year
championship drought. Both colorful characters

 are well past their primes, but if nothing else they
could at least provide an attraction at Tropicana
Field for a Rays team that drew  just 1.86 million
fans last year.
The 38-year-old Ramirez began last season with the Los Angeles 
Dodgers, then was claimed on waivers late in the summer by
the Chicago White Sox. He hit a combined .298 with nine homers
and 42 RBIs in the final season of a $45 million, two-year contract
he signed with the Dodgers.
Hampered by injuries, the longtime slugger had 320 plate
appearances in 90 games. Still a power threat, he likely
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 home runs, good for 14th on the
career list, and 1,830 RBIs, which ranks 18th. He also helped
Boston win the 2007 World Series, then was traded to the
Dodgers the following season.
The 37-year-old Damon spent last season with the Detroit Tigers,
batting .271 with eight homers and 51 RBIs, mostly as a DH.
Weak-armed in left field and no longer the stolen base threat he
once was, Damon remains very durable—he played 145 games
last year and hit 36 doubles in 539 at-bats.
Damon, who is from nearby Orlando (Windermere to be exact),
can pad his paycheck by making a difference at the gate. He
would get $150,000 each for 1.75 million, 1.85 million, 1.95
million, 2.05 million and 2.15 million in home attendance.
A two-time All-Star, Damon spent four years with the New
York Yankees and helped them win the 2009 World Series.
They let him leave as a free agent and he signed an
$8 million, one-year deal with Detroit.AP Sports Writer
 Mike Fitzpatrick contributed to this report.
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