The image you see above of Aramis Ramirez attempting to throw a runner out at Miller Park is about to become a much more regular sight.
Ramirez is set to sign a three year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers reportedly worth up to $37 million. Ramirez was deemed expendable by the Cubs after the team traded D.J. LeMahieu and Tyler Colvin to the Rockies in exchange for Ian Stewart. It’s a solild signing for a franchise that is going to need all the offense it can get early on in the season, especially with LF Ryan Braun looking at a 50-game suspension to start the season (more on that later).
Ramirez posted stellar offensive numbers yet again last season, hitting .306 with 26 HR and 93 RBI for a Cubs team that went nowhere fast. The 33-year-old also posted a solid 3.6 WAR in 2011, his highest since posting a 4.5 in 2008.
Given his age and Miller Park’s reputation as a hitters’ park, his numbers should be gaudy again. His addition will also help soften the (expected) loss of Prince Fielder in that lineup, providing consistent protection for guys like Ryan Braun and Corey Hart. Meanwhile, on the Fielder front, there’s no guarantee that he’s leaving Milwaukee — that is, if his agent Scott Boras is to be believed. Boras told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the Brewers are “part of the process” and are by no means out of the Fielder derby, even if they do appear to be the longshots at this point.
The move ensures that the Brewers are in better shape to defend their NL Central crown than they would be without Ramirez. The pitching staff, lead by Yovani Gallardo and Zack Greinke, returns almost entirely intact as does that stellar bullpen lead by John Axford and Francisco Rodriguez, who recently accepted the team’s arbitration offer. Still to be resolved is the team’s first base situation. As of right now the team appears poised to go with longtime top prospect Mat Gamel and/or Casey McGehee, who manned third base for the Brew Crew last season. Neither is going to be able to replicate Prince’s offensive firepower but at this point, Brewers fans would settle for a performance in line with what Lyle Overbay provided while keeping the bag warm for Prince from 2004-2005.