Back in the far reaches of baseball history, or approximately a decade ago, it was a common sight for power hitters in their mid to late 30’s to suddenly catch a second wind, recapturing their youth or, in some cases, surpassing anything they had ever done previously in their careers. Of course, there may have been chemical aides to these performances and breakouts, but they were still rather commonplace.
Now, it is no longer a given that power hitters will continue to produce as they enter their late 30’s. However, that is exactly what the Milwaukee Brewers are banking on with Aramis Ramirez, and the $14 Million he will earn for 2015 after both sides agreed to exercise their option for next season.
Based on how Ramirez performed last season, it may appear to be a worthwhile gamble. Ramirez made the All-Star team for the third time in his career, posting a .288/.336/.459 batting line with eleven home runs in the first half of 2014. While his batting average and on base percentage remained similar during the second half, Ramirez went through a power outage, hitting only four home runs while posting a .283/.323/.392 batting line following the All-Star Break.
Given the contracts handed out in free agency, both the Brewers and Aramis Ramirez choosing to exercise that option could prove to be quite the bargain. While Ramirez has battled injuries over the past couple of seasons, he has proven to be a consistent run producer when healthy. Since both Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez were able to cash in during free agency, although Hanley is presently slated to play in left field in Boston, Aramis Ramirez may well have left a significant amount of money on the table by exercising the option.
What could the Brewers expect from Ramirez next season? According t the Steamer projections for 2015, Ramirez is expected to produce a .267/.324/.432 batting line, hitting 17 home runs with 67 RBI. For a player that will be turning 37 next year, that would be solid production.
The Brewers may be gambling that Aramis Ramirez can fend off Father Time for one more year. Based on what it will cost the Brewers to find out, that appears to be a worthwhile gamble.