Roster technicalities can't stop Manny


Roster technicalities can't stop Manny

SACRAMENTO -- Manny Ramirez was all smiles as he worked out at Raley Field on Tuesday. He showed up early, ran in the outfield, stretched with his teammates, hit in the cage and even took time to give Yoenis Cespedes pointers in left field. He appeared comfortable with the fact he wasn't going to be joining the A's on Wednesday in Minnesota. He even seemed comfortable with the fact he wasn't technically on the team.When the gates opened to the fans, Ramirez had to leave. His 50-game suspension is over, and since his 10-game rehab stint is also over, he has to sit out until Wednesday when he can be added to the River Cats' 25-man roster. The veteran slugger who turns 40 on Wednesday, chose not to let a mere technicality get in the way of his work on the field. After all, he does have a comeback to complete. On Monday, hours before the A's announced he wouldn't be activated, Ramirez had the best game of his rehab stint. He went 2 for 4 with an RBI and nearly missed hitting a home run to the opposite field. His progress wasn't enough to get a call to the big leagues, but it did impress River Cats manager Darren Bush."Watching Manny anytime is impressive," Bush said. "He has a very nice swing. Watching him anytime is fun. He can hit, we all know that. It's just a matter of him feeling confident and feeling comfortable." In nine games with Sacramento, Ramirez has hit .250 (8-32), with three walks, and four RBIs. I had a chance to talk to him on Monday, he stressed the importance of getting in more at-bats. Bush agrees that the only was to get Ramirez ready, is a steady diet of pitches. "Talking to him he feels more comfortable every day that he goes out there," Bush said. "The more pitches he sees the better he feels." Ramirez is expected to be in the Sacramento lineup on Wednesday. The A's next day off comes on Thursday. It is a perfect time to take a travel day. We already know that Yoenis Cespedes is heading to Kansas City after Thursday's River Cats game if his hand holds up. Maybe he can bring Manny Ramirez with him.

A's president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

A's president: No revenue sharing puts stronger focus on new ballpark

New A’s president Dave Kaval said Friday in a press conference that the team would do everything in its power to make up for the loss of revenue-sharing money from Major League Baseball, but he did not address how the team’s payroll would be impacted for the time being.

Baseball’s new Collective Bargaining Agreement eliminates the hefty annual check the A’s have received from the more prosperous clubs, reportedly around $35 million last year. That money will be incrementally reduced, with the A’s receiving 25 percent less each of the next four years until it’s phased out completely.

Kaval said the loss of that money simply underscores the importance of the A’s identifying a new ballpark site in Oakland so they can build a stadium to open up new streams of cash. Kaval said he’s walked all of the sites the team is considering around the city, but he didn’t offer a timetable for when a site would be chosen or when construction might begin.

In the meantime, the A’s president stressed repeatedly in a media conference call Friday that all of the revenue the team does generate going forward will be invested back either into the on-field product or the fan experience at The Coliseum.

“I think the key thing is being smart about deploying resources,” Kaval said. “There’s no silver bullet. You have to address a variety of aspects with folks’ interaction with the club.”

He added that could include everything from broadcasting to “the hot dog you eat to players you watch.”

Until a new ballpark becomes reality, the challenge is how the A’s can generate the revenue they’re losing from MLB while still playing in the antiquated Oakland Coliseum, which hardly entices fans to come out and has become the butt of national jokes for numerous plumbing issues.

Kaval mentioned boosting ticket sales and improving sponsorship deals at The Coliseum as two potential revenue streams, though he adamantly declared the A’s won’t be raising ticket prices.

As for how payroll will be affected, if at all, Kaval only said that he’s dedicated “to providing all the tools needed for Billy Beane and David Forst and our baseball operations staff.”

Last season the A’s had an Opening Day payroll of $86.8 million, according to the Cot’s Baseball Contracts website. There’s speculation that that total will shrink due to the loss in revenue sharing.

It’s undeniable that the A’s financial future is tied to finally getting a new ballpark. They’re considering rebuilding on the current Coliseum site, which is complicated until the Raiders’ situation gets resolved, but are also considering locations at Howard Terminal and near Laney College.

Kaval, also president of the San Jose Earthquakes, was instrumental in getting a soccer stadium built for that team. Without talking specific sites, he said he’s spent lots of time driving around and walking all the locations the A’s are considering.

“It’s been exciting to visit the locations, walk them, squint and kind of envision where the stadium would be and the views. And how it could transform the different communities (around) the site.”

He maintains his belief that a “ballpark village” type environment is critical so that fans have motivation to visit the area even when games aren’t being played. Kaval has also said he thinks such a development is possible at The Coliseum.

He was asked if there was a renewed sense of urgency to the ballpark search given the elimination of revenue sharing.

“I think building a ballpark is something you do one time in your life. It’s a generational thing. I think it’s something we want to be very thoughtful about and make the right decision.”

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

Padres trade former A's All-Star catcher to Nationals

WASHINGTON — The Washington Nationals have reacquired catcher Derek Norris from the San Diego Padres for minor league right-hander Pedro Avila.

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced the trade Friday.

Norris, a 2007 first-round pick of the Nationals, hit .186 with 14 home runs and 42 RBIs last season for San Diego. The 27-year-old is a career .233 hitter in five major league seasons with the Oakland Athletics and Padres.

Washington sent Norris to Oakland for left-hander Gio Gonzalez in 2011. He returns to the Nationals, who avoided arbitration with catcher Jose Lobaton on Thursday.

All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos is a free agent who will miss the start of the season after knee surgery.

Avila, 19, went 7-7 with a 3.48 ERA in 20 starts for Single-A Hagerstown last season.