By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
7:38 PM EST, February 3, 2012
The Orioles maintain some interest in slugger Manny Ramirez and have had internal conversations, but there are plenty of issues that would have to be rectified before the club would make a decision on whether to even offer him a contract.
In other words, if it happens at all, it wouldn’t happen soon.
Ramirez, 39, is hoping to come out of retirement, though he’d have to serve a 50-game suspension for failing a drug test before he could play again in the majors. An ESPN Deportes report said Friday that Ramirez is choosing between the Oakland A’s, Toronto Blue Jays and Orioles. But that appears to be premature – at least on the Orioles’ end.
“Manny is looking for a second chance,” said Orioles’ executive vice president Dan Duquette I think it is a good story, but that’s about all I can say about it right now.”
While the general manager of the Boston Red Sox, Duquette signed Ramirez to a free-agent deal before the 2001 season. Duquette knows Ramirez well, and chuckled at the report that suggested Ramirez will pick the team he wants to play for and then negotiate a contract.
“Manny has always had an interesting way of looking at the world,” Duquette said.
The belief is that Ramirez likely would sign a minor-league deal and be able to serve the 50-game suspension as a minor leaguer before a team would consider bringing him to the big leagues.
Some other notes:
** Duquette said the Orioles are not necessarily done adding players, including a bat, to the major-league roster. An addition could come through trade or free agency.
“We’re still talking to teams and there are a couple players we are interested in, but at this time of year people generally want to see what their (rosters) look like,” Duquette said. “There are a couple unsigned players that might fit for us.”
** The Orioles are heading toward an arbitration hearing with pitcher Jeremy Guthrie on Monday, but it is possible that two settlements on Friday could spur the Orioles and Guthrie to an agreement. The Chicago Cubs and starter Matt Garza agreed to a $9.5 million deal and the Milwaukee Brewers and Shaun Marcum agreed to a $7.725 million deal. Guthrie is asking for $10.25 million and the Orioles countered with $7.25 million.
** The Orioles signed left-handed hitting corner infielder/outfielder Jeff Larish to a minor-league deal without a spring training invite. Larish, 29, last played in the majors in 2010 with the Oakland A’s. he is a .224 hitter in parts of three major-league seasons. He announced the signing on his Facebook page, according to mlb.com.
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