The Milwaukee Brewers are dealing with the aftermath of Ryan Braun's positive test for a prohibited substance (via FOX Sports), but they are also still working to upgrade their team for next season. One intriguing name is Aramis Ramirez, who Tom Haudricourt reports the Brewers are mulling as an option.
Interest in the long-time Cubs third baseman has seemingly been limited even though the veteran had a strong season in 2011. He hit .306 with 26 home runs while playing in 149 games. That renewed durability was key for him before heading into free agency.
With Braun's possible suspension and Prince Fielder still testing the market for a deal outside of Milwaukee's price range, the Brewers could have a major void to fill in the middle of their lineup on opening day. Ramirez might not be able to carry an offense by himself, but he certainly has even pop to keep it afloat.
Casey McGehee spent most of last season at third base for Milwaukee, posting an abysmal .280 on-base percentage. At a position that's traditionally relied on for power, he didn't provide enough of it.
Should the Brewers pursue Ramirez?
Ramirez would slide right in and provide a sizable upgrade. His defense might not match up with McGehee's, but he'll more than make up for it with his bat.
The Brewers' strength will once again be their pitching. They have one of the most underrated rotations in the league, especially their top three which features Zack Greinke, Yovani Gallardo and Shaun Marcum. So they won't have to have a dominant offense to succeed.
That said, some semblance of a threat behind Braun will be necessary, otherwise teams will pitch around the reigning MVP. Baseball, in its simplest form, comes down to scoring runs and preventing runs. Milwaukee only has half of the equation right now.
While signing Ramirez wouldn't make the splash of an Albert Pujols or Jose Reyes, he would be a much more cost-effective option. And that's exactly the type of moves a team like Milwaukee needs to make in order to remain competitive in the National League.
The only real concern would be his health, but there aren't many remaining free agents that come without some type of worrisome risk involved.