Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Aramis Ramirez probably wishes the 2013 season never happened – or at least had gone a little differently.
When the Milwaukee Brewers signed Ramirez to a three-year deal worth $36 million, I was pumped. The Brewers needed to find a bat to replace the hole left by Prince Fielder (by the way, great performance in the postseason, Prince). And finally the Brewers would have a stud in the hot corner. The signing worked out in 2012 but the fears of many came to fruition this past season – the man cannot stay healthy.
Ramirez, coming off a superb season in 2012, battled knee injuries for most of the year (he only played in 92 games) and never really found a groove. If you looked at his statistics, you would say he had a fine year when he actually did play. You’d be wrong. Sometimes you have to brush off the dust and a look a little closer. He regressed in almost every offensive category as shown in the chart below.
Stats courtesy of FanGraphs
DL stints were the main cause for his lack of productivity. He’ll be 36 in June and staying healthy will become even more of a challenge for him. After fighting it for a long time, Ramirez is starting to show his age.
Not only is his bat beginning to slow, his defense took a tumble as well. After committing seven errors in 149 games in 2012, he duplicated that number in 57 fewer games in 2013. Only seven players had a lower Ultimate Zone Rating (-5.6) than Ramirez.
Going forward, there’s no one pushing Ramirez for the starting job. While I think Juan Francisco has potential, he’s more suited to first base since he’s even less mobile than Ramirez. However, 2015 will be a different story. Ramirez and the Brewers have a mutual option on his contract but since Ramirez will be pushing 37, the chances of him returning to Milwaukee are slim. By then, he’ll be a fit for an American League team looking for a designated hitter.
Ramirez couldn’t overcome injuries just like the Brewers couldn’t overcome being terrible. Hopefully, 2014 will be a different story.