MLB Trade Speculation: 5 Reasons the Yankees Should Not Deal for Aramis Ramirez
Last Monday, Yankees superstar third baseman Alex Rodriguez underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair a tear in the meniscus in his right knee. Reports are that he will miss approximately four to six weeks recovering and rehabbing from the injury, so in the meantime the Yankees need someone to fill in for him at third base, and in the lineup.
With it being so close to the trade deadline, rumors have begun to circle regarding the possibility of the Yankees making a trade for Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez.
After a disappointing 2010 season, Ramirez has bounced back nicely in 2011, and was hitting .298 with 15 home runs and 51 RBI, earning himself the third nod for NL starting third baseman in the All-Star Game following the injuries to Placido Polanco and Chipper Jones. Although he declined the invitation, it still shows how well he has performed thus far this season.
However, there are a few drawbacks to trading for Ramirez that the Yankees should discuss. If Brian Cashman is smart, he would see that these drawbacks make trading for Ramirez a colossal mistake.
1. Eduardo Nunez
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Right now, the thought is that the Yankees' young infielder Eduardo Nunez will take the replacement job, just as he did in June, when Yankees captain and shortstop Derek Jeter was placed on the DL with a right calf strain. During this recent stint as the starting shortstop, Nunez hit .339 with two home runs and seven RBI, which is more than enough reason to cement his place as A-Rod's replacement for the next month.
Nunez will likely receive an increased role next year, so it makes sense to give him more experience when opportunities arise. With current Yankees DH Jorge Posada likely to retire at the end of the season, New York may choose to use Nunez in a "super utility" role, similar to that used by the Rays and Rangers with Ben Zobrist and Michael Young, respectively. This would allow the Yankees to rest their aging veterans, such as A-Rod and Jeter, while keeping their bats in the lineup.
The Yankees would need not worry about having a utility player available on their roster, as with A-Rod's move to the DL, the Yankees will be able to recall infielder Ramiro Pena for the duration of A-Rod's DL stint. Having Nunez replace A-Rod would cost them nothing and may in fact be the best option.
2. Lose Prospects
Yankees prospect Brandon Laird (left) with Alex Rodriguez (right)
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Remember, to complete a trade, both teams have to send players to one another. This means that if the Yankees want Aramis Ramirez, they would have to give up some of their prospects in order to get him. This would not be a good idea.
The Yankees' farm system is full of talented young players who are either major league ready or close to it. Some of the top shelf prospects include Manny Banuelos, Dellin Betances, Andrew Brackman, Eduardo Nunez, Jesus Montero, Austin Romine and Brandon Laird (pictured). The Cubs would likely want at least one of these players coupled with some lesser prospects in return for Ramirez.
If I were Brian Cashman, I would not be open to the idea of giving up any of those prospects. Young talent is a valuable commodity and should not be wasted on an aging player like Ramirez
3. Ramirez's Injury History
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Aramis Ramirez is getting older, and as players begin to age, so do their bodies. While it hasn't been drastic, Ramirez has begun to develop an injury history over the past few seasons. He dislocated his shoulder in 2009, leading to him only playing in only 82 games that season. That injury seemed to affect him the next year, as his numbers plummeted and he hit only .241 in 124 games, missing even more time to a thumb injury.
If Ramirez has struggled with injuries recently, why would the Yankees want to take a chance on him this year? What if they give up a couple of prospects and take on his contract only to have him land on the DL and not contribute? When you already have the option of youth in Eduardo Nunez, it wouldn't be smart to go out and deal for a veteran who might be marginally better than he is.
4. It's Only a Month
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With all this trade talk, it almost seems as if A-Rod isn't coming back at all this season. Remember, he's going to be gone for four to six weeks, not three months. Alex Rodriguez will eventually return, and when he does, what becomes of Aramis Ramirez? Does he become the DH? Does A-Rod?
What about Jorge Posada? After an awful start to the season, Posada has started to come into his own as a designated hitter, so why would the Yankees want to keep him out of the lineup? It doesn't make much sense to me. The Yankees aren't going to have him sit on the bench if he can't play a position, and they aren't going to release a man that's been there since the beginning of the late-'90s dynasty in 1996.
Sure there's a place for Ramirez right now, but in a month, his presence would only cause problems.
5. The 2012 Option
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Now for the biggest drawback of them all in regards to Aramis Ramirez. His contract runs through 2011, but there is a club option for $16 million. So no big deal, right? Just pay the $2 million buyout and part ways, right?
Wrong. You see, if Ramirez is traded in 2011, that 2012 option becomes guaranteed and the receiving team would have to keep him through next season. So even if the Yankees thought they could figure out a way to make it work for the remaining month and a half of the season and the playoffs once A-Rod returns, they would have no choice but to keep Ramirez in pinstripes in 2012 as well.
There are options here. The Yankees could use Ramirez as a part-time DH, part-time third baseman in 2012, platooning playing time in the field between him and A-Rod, which would allow the Yankees to keep both players fresh. However, the same thing could be done with Eduardo Nunez, who as I mentioned is much younger and much cheaper than Ramirez. The Yankees could also attempt to trade Ramirez during the offseason and bring in some prospects or a pitcher in return.
So although there would be ways to work around this 2012 obstacle, it would just be easier to not even have to worry about it. The Yankees should NOT trade for Aramis Ramirez.