Manny seeks new start with Oakland

Posted: February 21, 2012

The Manny Ramirez sweepstakes (and it's hard not to think of it as a sweepstakes when you're talking about a fellow with 555 career home runs) ended Monday with his decision to join the Oakland Athletics.

Officially, he agreed to a minor-league contract. Unofficially, he signed for about $500,000, according to ESPN.

Also officially, Ramirez will have to serve a 50-game suspension for his second positive drug test before he can play for the A's, meaning that, barring rainouts, his first game could be May 30 - on his 40th birthday.

Ramirez, a career .312 hitter with 1,831 RBIs who last year toiled for Tampa Bay, cut his last season short, retiring in April after he was notified "of an issue" under the drug-testing program. He went 1 for 17 (.059) in five games last season for the Rays, which had signed him to a one-year deal worth $2.02 million.

Mo's last season?

Mariano Rivera strongly hinted that 2012 will be his final season.

The all-time saves leader (603) said that he has made a decision about his baseball future, but he wasn't ready to disclose it. The 42-year-old New York Yankees icon said that nothing that happens on the field this season will change his mind.

"Even if I save 90 games, even if they want to pay as much money as they want to - anything," he said about a decision he called "irrevocable."

"Decisions like that are always hard, always," Rivera added and leaving little doubt that he has decided it was time. "It involves what you do, it involves what you have done for 22 years, you know?"

Rivera has hinted at retirement before only to continue closing games a Hall of Fame pace, a fact the righthander acknowledged in his chat with reporters. But, he said, "this one is different."

Ibanez in pinstripes

The Yankees and former Phillie Raul Ibanez have agreed to a $1.1 million, one-year contract, a person familiar the negotiations said. The deal includes $2.9 million in performance bonuses for the 39-year-old lefty outfielder.

"He's a guy that's hit righthanders very well over his career, can still play the outfield," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said, without confirming the agreement. "Has been a productive player if you look over the last 10 years."

Twins closer gets a lifeline

After the kind of numbers Minnesota Twins closer Matt Capps put up last year, you would think he would want a change of scenery. Not so.

Capps, who blew seven of 22 save chances and was 4-7 with a 4.25 ERA, said he felt like he "let a lot of people down," and wanted a second chance to set things right.

He got it from general manager Terry Ryan, who re-signed Capps as the closer after Joe Nathan left for the Texas Rangers.

Capps says he was heartened by the show of faith and is determined to prove that last season was a fluke.

- Inquirer wire services