by Rachel Swan
Lest you have any doubts about Billy Beane's ability to wheel and deal, he just acquired disgraced all-star Manny Ramirez on-the cheap — meaning at a $500 K price tag, the Associated Press reports. Granted, that comes with the stipulation that Manny complete an unpaid 50 game suspension as punishment for juicing (specifically, the fertility drug hCG), and then earn placement on the major league roster. If all goes according to plan, though, he'll be batting for the A's as early as June. Ramirez, who has gained fame alternately for his all-star record, his more than 500 career homeruns, and his surly temperament, is slated to report to spring training next week. Team owner Lew Wolff told ESPN that both he and general manager Billy Beane are beside themselves. With all that said, Chron columnist John Shea was critical, calling it a typical "Moneyball" deal and placing Ramirez in a lineage of "past-their-prime" sluggers who can be sought at low risk. In this case, it could be a combination of age and ill-repute.