COMMENTARY | This almost seems pointless right now, but the Los Angeles Dodgers, sitting at 23-32, 8 1/2 games out of first place, need another bat.
With Yasiel Puig making his MLB debut in a few hours and the team close to getting Hanley Ramirez back from injury for the second time this season, the need for a bat might not be as great as it once was. But with Matt Kemp and the likely-to-be-traded Andre Ethier struggling, another slugger would be a nice get for the Dodgers.
Francisco will play mostly first base for now, but his home resides at third base, and the Brewers could use some prospects to beef up their barren farm system.
Save an injury-riddled 2009 season, Ramirez has hit no fewer than 25 home runs in every season since 2003. He broke out with the Pirates in 2001 with 34 home runs, 116 RBIs, an .885 OPS and a 4.7 wins above replacement.
Ramirez has averaged 3.2 WAR from 2001 through 2012. He began the 2013 season on the disabled list, hence the reason he has just a 0.2 WAR so far. He's hitting .300/.388/.500 in 27 games. He led the National League in doubles in 2012 (50) and already has nine this season to go along with three home runs. His batting average on balls in play is .353, which is about 60 points higher than his career number. Even if his BABIP falls, he should still be a solid contributor due to a good 12.6 percent walk rate and .200 isolated power mark.
The Dodgers acquiring Ramirez - if they're still in the playoff hunt - makes a lot of sense.
There aren't a lot of options in the upper minors to be the Dodgers' long-term third baseman, hence the fact Luis Cruz still has a job. Corey Seager, their top draft pick from 2012, is at least two years away, and that's being aggressive. There is literally no one else worth mentioning at the position.
Ramirez is signed through the 2014 season. He's collected roughly $3-plus million so far this season and is due $16 million next year. He also has a mutual option for 2015 that includes a $4 million buyout. So, he's due nearly $27 million for the duration of his contract. That's plenty affordable for the richest team in baseball.
The Brewers are 21-34 and in last place in the National League Central. They're going to be plenty active before the July 31 trade deadline, and Ramirez could be their best trade chip.
Much like with Chase Utley, the Dodgers probably wouldn't have to give up top-shelf prospects, especially if they take on the vast majority of the contract. Players like Bobby Coyle, Matt Magill, Chris Reed, Blake Smith and Chris Withrow could all be in play.
Third base has been a black hole since the club allowed Adrian Beltre to leave via free agency following the 2004 season. While Ramirez isn't more than a one- or two-year fix, he could provide the Dodgers with some right-handed sock they desperately need.
Ramirez isn't a great defensive third baseman, but he's been good enough to stick at the position for 16 seasons. Wow, it's amazing how time flies.
With Hanley Ramirez slated to play shortstop the rest of the season (provided he's healthy), the left side of the Dodgers' infield would be the place groundouts turn into singles. However, both players can make up for their defensive deficiencies with their superior offensive output.
This kind of acquisition makes a lot of sense for the Dodgers. The Brewers will be looking to trim payroll because of their poor start.
Ramirez would hold down third until Seager was ready. While a guy like Chase Headley would be preferred, he'd also cost a lot more in trade, as well as a long-term contract.
Dustin Nosler has followed the Dodgers from Northern California all his life. He's the founder of Feelin' Kinda Blue, a Dodger blog. He also co-hosts "Dugout Blues," a weekly Dodger podcast. Find him on Twitter @FeelinKindaBlue.
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- Hanley Ramirez
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Aramis Ramirez
- Milwaukee Brewers