See, Brew Crew Nation? It’s not all doom and gloom stuff in Milwaukee anymore.
Just in time to take some column inches away from the Ryan Braun fiasco comes a report that the Brewers have agreed in principle to a deal with Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. The deal is pending a physical, but everyone from Ken Rosenthal (he of a thousand hot stove rumors) to Doug Melvin to Ramy’s agent have acknowledged the terms.
This is big news for the Brewers, who were expected – and largely did – sit on their hands during the Winter Meetings. I’m very excited about this deal, especially considering how this was quickly turning into a Winter of Discontent for the Brewer Faithful.
According to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com, the 33 year-old slugger has agreed in principle to a three year deal with money ranging from $34 to $37 Million. That is a fair amount of Milwaukee’s spending money, but more than a bargain when you look at the numbers.
Aramis has spent his entire career in the NL Central, starting with Pittsburgh (don’t they all?) and landing in the Friendly Confines halfway through the 2003 season. Since that time, he has been one of the only consistent hitters the team had, and that seems to be one of the reasons Ramirez did not want to stay in the Windy City. His agent, Paul Kinzler mentioned to several sources that the Cubs would be on the outside looking in on a deal for Ramirez, but that he did wish to stay in the Division and work for a competing club. If you’ve done your homework that only really left St. Louis and Milwaukee. As it turns out, our lack of faith in keeping Fielder is probably what gave us the opportunity to snag the premiere third base free agent for the 2012 season. With St. Louis making desperate calls to Pujols (assumingly), and the fact they have no real need for a third baseman, the Crew slid up to Ramirez and sweet talked him into a new home at Miller Park.
Is Ramirez going to replace Fielder’s production? Of course not. You’d need about nine people to do that. Ramirez is going to give a steady stream of hits with a good dose of power, and a glove that will go a long way to picking up a largely deficient infield. Ramy is, from an offensive standpoint, one of the most efficient and high-performing players in the game going by his numbers alone. In Chicago, he was left sailing in the wind like Wrigley’s outfield flags and any protection brought to help him was a tremendous bust. In Milwaukee, if everything works out, Ramy and Braun will be able to continue (in some small way) the 1-2 punch left in Fielder’s absence.
All in all, this deal is the brightest spot yet in Milwaukee’s offseason. I, like many of you out there, was woefully disappointed in the Gonzalez signing. Time will tell how he’s going to turn out, as I feel his skills on both side of the ball leave much to be desired. With Frankie back for another year, the rotation intact and a newly bolstered infield it looks like the Ramirez signing – when and if it occurs officially – will be the last bit of ammunition the team needs to make a run at another Pennant.