December 12, 2011
While Prince Fielder entertains offers from much richer teams and Ryan Braun tries to talk his way out of a 50-game suspension, the Milwaukee Brewers have wasted no time with signing an alternative source of power.
As first reported by Bruce Levine of ESPN Chicago, the club has come to terms on a three-year deal with Aramis Ramirez. The two sides have been flirting for quite some time — Ramirez reportedly had the Crew listed as his top destination — but Braun's breaking news over the weekend undoubtedly upped the urgency on the Brewers' side.
Milwaukee, of course, is getting a familiar face in Ramirez. The 33-year-old just turned down a player option to remain with the Chicago Cubs and now he'll move 90 miles north to remain in the only division he's ever known. Ramirez has hit .270/.325/.503 with 15 homers and 62 RBIs in 78 games at Miller Park. One of the most memorable moments of his Cubs career came in June 29, 2007 when he launched a two-out, two-run homer off Francisco Cordero to defeat the then-first place Brewers en route to a NL Central division title for Chicago.
Is this a good deal for the Brewers? Until we see the dollar numbers surface, it's tough to say for certain. But Milwaukee also didn't have many options, so an overpay for an aging third baseman who couldn't stay healthy in 2009 and '10 and isn't the best defender almost has to be assumed.
At the same time, while slotting Ramirez in the heart of the order won't replace the numbers that Fielder is taking with him (possibly the other way down I-94 to Wrigley Field) the Brewers will undoubtedly accept the totals (.306/.361/.510) he posted for the Cubs in his bounceback 2011. With the situation they're facing, the risk of Ramirez staying productive for all three seasons is one that Milwaukee had to take.