Sources: Vlad Guerrero close to signing

Updated: January 21, 2011, 8:51 PM ET
By Enrique Rojas | ESPNdeportes.com

ORLANDO, Fla. -- With less than a month to go before spring training begins, slugger Vladimir Guerrero remains available. But that could change as soon as this weekend.

The 15-year veteran is close to signing, sources told ESPNdeportes.com.

Guerrero is a prime candidate to fill a designated hitter spot in the American League.

One team that no longer needs a designated hitter is the Tampa Bay Rays. The Rays agreed to one-year deals with former Red Sox stars Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon, sources confirmed to ESPN.com senior writer Jerry Crasnick Friday night.

The Rays, Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers had expressed the strongest interest in Ramirez the past few days, with Toronto also making overtures.

Minnesota took itself out of the running when it re-signed Jim Thome last week.

The Rangers signed Adrian Beltre in the offseason to take over at third base for Michael Young, who accepted the team's DH role.

Ramirez, 38, hit .298 with nine home runs and 42 RBIs last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Chicago White Sox. He was limited to 265 at-bats in 2010 because of problems with his right knee and left groin. The latter led to hernia surgery in October.

In 18 major league seasons, Ramirez has a .313 average with 555 home runs and 1,830 RBIs. The 12-time All-Star believes he can extend his career a bit longer as a DH.

"Manny isn't conerned about the money right now, he just wants the opportunity for plenty of at-bats to show that what happened last year was because of injuries," one source said.

Guerrero, the AL Comeback Player of the Year with the Rangers last season, has been linked to the Angels, Rays and Baltimore Orioles. One person close to Guerrero indicated that the Orioles have the inside track in negotiations, but the Angels remain a strong candidate.

Guerrero batted. 300 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs last year. In 15 seasons, Guerrero -- who will turn 36 before spring training -- has a .320 average with 436 home runs and 1,433 RBIs.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com.

Enrique Rojas is a reporter and columnist for ESPNdeportes.com and ESPN.com.

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