On June 2, assuming none of Oakland's first 50 games are rained out, Manny Ramirez will be eligible to join the A's. He may need a few games in Triple-A to get ready, but signing Ramirez makes Oakland's intention clear: He'll be the club's designated hitter sometime in early June.
The critics will say: Why bring in Ramirez? This team isn't going anywhere, he's not exactly known for his leadership skills and why take away at-bats from young players like Brandon Allen, Chris Carter or Seth Smith?
I say: Why not?
For $500,000, the A's take a flyer on one of the game's all-time great hitters. They'll earn that back with just a few extra ticket sales. Yoenis Cespedes supposedly has said he wants to play with Ramirez, so that helps establish a happy relationship with the highest-paid player on the team; nothing wrong with that. But the big bonus, of course, would be if Ramirez actually hits once he returns. If he does, he becomes possible trade bait for a team looking for a DH or a bat off the bench. So for $500,000, if the A's get lucky, they flip Ramirez for a Grade C prospect. Maybe that prospect becomes somebody who can help the team in a couple of years.