After two grueling days at the 2011 MLB Winter Meetings, the Milwaukee Brewers and GM Doug Melvin may finally have their replacement for former slugger Prince Fielder.
Late last night, sources confirmed the Brewers are the "favorites" to land former Chicago Cubs third baseman Aramis Ramirez. The Phillies and Angels were considered to be Milwaukee's only real competition to land the slugger this winter, but talks have subsided and Philadelphia may be pulling out of the sweepstakes altogether.
Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted Paul Kinzer, Ramirez’s agent, last night saying:
“He likes that team. He wants to go to a team that has pitching and gives him a chance to win a ring. He thinks the Brewers can do that.”
Ramirez has made it known that he is seeking either a four-year deal or a three-year deal with an option for a fourth. Many believe that since the Brewers aren't likely to retain Fielder, Ramirez has become the club's next best option. Last season, the 33-year-old batted .306 with 26 home runs and 93 RBI last season in Chicago.
In addition to Ramirez, the Brewers also have a strong interest in free-agent shortstop Jimmy Rollins, as sources affirmed on Tuesday. No proposal has been made, but there nonetheless remains an active pursuit of the veteran shortstop.
With the winter meetings winding down, expect the rumor mill surrounding the club to be at full force. With the mutual interest in Ramirez coming into focus, we could see a preliminary offering on the table by nightfall.