At this point, Oakland may as well change their name from the Athletics to Team Craigslist.
Weeks after trading a substantial portion of their starting rotation and bullpen, the A's are on the prowl for a veteran hitter at a bargain price; this year's Hideki Matsui.
And they're searching every possible location: free agency, the classifieds, outlet stores, eHarmony and other online sites. They're even scraping the bottom of the used golf balls barrel at the local Play it Again Sports. Praying for a Titleist but mostly grabbing Top-Flites.
While browsing Craigslist, the front office stumbled upon this post in the Personals section:
Single, 39-year old male, looking to regain respect in the baseball world. Can still provide a little pop to your offense, but don't put me in the outfield for defense. You'd be better off placing a uniformed mannequin out there. I rank 14th on the MLB career list with 555 home runs and have enough gas left in the tank for a one-year deal. My only requirement is that there be plenty of fast food spots near my new home. Interested? Contact Manny.
This is where the joking stops, though the laughter may remain.
The A's have publicly expressed interest in acquiring slugger Manny Ramirez.
"We're open to it," assistant general manager David Forst admitted during a recent Fanfest at the Oakland Arena. "We do have other things going on and we do expect other additions between now and Opening Day. We have never been in a situation where we had too many good players."
Ramirez carries a career .312 batting average to go along with 1831 RBIs. Yet he has plenty of baggage as well.
He was suspended for 100 games last year, after testing positive for performance-enhacing drugs. The ban was trimmed to 50 games because he sat out nearly all of last season. If signed, the suspension would start the first game he is eligible to play in.
Would it even be worth it then to pursue the tainted veteran?
Owner Lew Wolff believes so. "I think it would be fun," he said. "This should be viewed on the basis of talent. Once he's served the penalty he should be free to do what he wants. I don't know what kind of shape he's in, though I hear he's in great shape."
In great shape? That might be a stretch, but Ramirez may just have more career hits than the A's entire lineup combined. The reward may prove to be larger than the risk and, at this point, anything is a possibility. It's been an expect the unexpected type of offseason for this team.
Basically, they're a broken clock and Sega Genesis away from being an all out yard sale.