Friday January 21, 2011 | 09:35 PM

The AL East just got more interesting.

According to Jon Heyman of Sports Illustrated, the Tampa Bay Rays have agreed to sign free agents and former Red Sox outfielders Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez.

The deals, which are pending physicals, have Damon receiving $5.25-million, with another $750,000 in potential bonuses, and Ramirez receiving $2-million.

Damon left the Red Sox after the 2005 and signed a four-year deal with the Yankees. He played last season with Detroit and used a no-trade clause to nullify a potential waiver deal with Boston last August.

Ramirez forced his way out of Boston, in a trade to Los Angeles in 2008. He was sent to the White Sox at the end of last season.

Damon lives in nearby Orlando. He told the St. Petersburg Times that he and his agent, Scott Boras, were working on a deal, but there has not been an official announcement. "If that's the case, I'm a happy man to be in Tampa, then," Damon told the Times.

Tampa Bay, which still has a solid starting rotation, now has offensive replacements for Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena (though Ramirez will not be replacing Pena at first, but likely as a DH).

The Rays still need to rebuild their bullpen.


About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

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