Talk is cheap, and this article is mostly speculative.
That being said, it seems that there is a better than decent chance that third baseman Aramis Ramírez could be a Milwaukee Brewer in 2012.
The two parties have expressed mutual interest in each other, with Doug Melvin saying that "[Ramirez] has expressed interest in us, too. That is something I always like to hear."
Furthermore, according to a tweet by @BrewerNation, the Brewers have made a three-year deal with a mutual option for a fourth to A-Ram, with no details of the offer being released. If this offer has been made (if being the operative word), this is very exciting news for a Brewers team that figured to be relatively quiet during the winter meetings.
Now it is opinion time.
I cannot express how big of a deal this would be for the Brewers. A couple of months ago I posted an article about what the Brewers needed to do this offseason, especially in regards to replacing Prince Fielder.
I said that it should be priority No. 1 to sign Fielder, go after Jose Reyes second and if both of them appear to be well out of price-range, A-Ram should be the next target.
I said this with only speculative optimism, as I viewed all three players as well out of the Brewers' financial grasps.
Fielder is seeking a massive deal and will almost certainly get one from a team that can afford his services. While there have been rumors that the Brewers have upped their offer to Prince to six years at $120 million, those rumors have firmly been quashed by Melvin, and it appears that the Brewers have all but given up on signing the big guy.
Details are surfacing that the Reyes sweepstakes are over, and that the speedy shortstop will be taking his talents to Miami in 2012. The Marlins offered a massive contract of six years, $110 million, well out of the Brewers' price range for the shortstop.
And honestly, prior to the past couple of days, I didn't think the Brewers would make any play on Ramírez. I thought that Melvin and company would disappoint me and remain content with the poor defensive and offensive production of Casey McGehee in hopes that he would have a bounce-back year.
I firmly believe that with Fielder almost undoubtedly leaving, waiting for McGehee to get his swagger back is not an option. The Brewers are going to need proven production to help protect Ryan Braun, and that is exactly what Ramírez gives.
Last year, A-Ram hit .306/.361/.510 with 26 homers and 93 RBI. He has hit 25 or more home runs in seven of his last eight seasons, and with a career statline of .284/.342/.500 and a collective offensive WAR of 30.7, Ramírez is just what the Brewers need.
Placing him in the four hole behind Braun will mean opposing pitchers will be less likely to pitch around Braun. He will be turning 34 next season, but a three- to four-year deal is not too risky, and the reward that A-Ram could give far outweighs any risk.
Ramírez is also an upgrade defensively over McGehee, who is one of the worst defensive third basemen in the game, and certainly one of the slowest Brewers on the roster.
A lot has been said that a good part of the reason that Ramírez was so successful as a Cub is because Wrigley Field is such a hitter-friendly ballpark. Luckily for him and hopefully the Brewers, Miller Park is also known to be hitter friendly, and he will still get plenty of chances to play at Wrigley.
If this deal ends up happening, the Brewers will have taken a huge step in replacing Fielder, and hopefully ensuring a return to the playoffs.