The Oakland Athletics have signed Manny Ramirez to be their designated hitter in 2012, a move that will bring to shortage of media interest and scrutinizing. The only problem is that Ramirez will still need to serve a 50-game suspension at the outset of the season, due to a 2011 violation of MLB drug policy. The A's will need to fill the DH role for those 50 games and are currently weighing their options during Spring Training.
Joe Stiglich of the Mercury News reports that there are plenty of in-house candidates for the job.
[Jonny] Gomes and [Seth] Smith have the most proven major league track records of all the D.H. candidates, but their career left/right splits are quite drastic. Smith has hit right-handers much better than left-handers over his career (.290 vs. .202), and Gomes is better against left-handers (.281 vs. .224).
A's manager Bob Melvin could platoon the two.
Smith would appear to be the more likely candidate, but the platoon option sounds intriguing considering their splits. Smith came to the A's in a trade with the Colorado Rockies during the offseason. In 2011, he hit 15 home runs with the Rockies and slugged .483.
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