Aramis Ramirez: 5 Things Fans Won't Miss About the Newest Ex-Cub, Latest Brewer
Aramis Ramirez, the lovable loser. He played well (mostly) and gave it his best (most of the time).
Cubs fans are (mostly) sad to see him go.
But no one's weeping, unless they shelled out a hundred clams for one of his jerseys.
Look, Ramirez is a good guy and he'll be warmly received in his new digs. And the same is true when he comes to Wrigley next season, too.
Fans on both sides will cheer him.
But no one expects a Pujols-esque full-page ad in the hometown news rag.
Truth is, signing Ramirez amounts to a white flag by Milwaukee's ownership they hope fans will interpret as a move to stay competitive.
But they can't compete. They're going to lose Prince Fielder. (Maybe to the Cubs.)
And unless something historic happens, Braun will lose any appeal to his 50-game suspension.
So watching the Brewers sign Ramirez for his downhill years? With his aging back, slowing bat and worsening defense?
Those are a few things Cubs fan won't miss.
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Ramirez is one of the worst defensive third basemen in baseball.
It doesn't even matter which metric you use or what you think of them. Nearly all of them say Ramirez is below average at best, and often among the league's worst.
Over his career, he's averaged an error every 7.8 games, which projects to the alarming rate of almost 21 per season.
The figure is slightly skewed by a few particularly retch-inducing years, but if he plays 144 games (ha!) it will be hard for him to commit fewer than 15 gaffes.
More importantly, his range continues to decline.
So when Chicago plays Milwaukee, expect Cubs righties to consider pulling it down the third base line.
If they can, there's an ever-increasing chance they'll end up on first base.
Jogging Down to First Base
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You almost wonder if Mike Quade was yelling from the dugout, "Careful there, big fella! Don't strain anything! Slow down! Take it easy!"
If so, he needn't have worried: It requires effort to strain something.
Ramirez ran when he knew he should. But often failed to run when it looked routine. Or he just didn't want to.
And that's the problem. No hitter knows when they should or shouldn't run it out.
Because anything can happen. It's baseball.
He should be running hard every time.
Seriously, Ramirez doesn't think it's possible for the defense to commit an error on a routine grounder?
Stop it right now.
That's too ironic.
Postseason Struggles at the Plate
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Ramirez was integral to the Cubs offense during their playoff run of 2003.
In 12 postseason games, he was 11-of-42 with four dingers, knocking in 10 runs and scoring six times.
But in the 2007 and 2009 playoffs he was stupefied at the plate, going 2-for-23, scoring one run and striking out seven times.
Zero RBIs. Just two walks.
And given his defense, when Ramirez isn't hitting he's a black hole to the team's chances. (That's true whether it's the playoffs or not.)
Fortunately, next time the Cubs are in a playoffs, Ramirez is out of the lineup.
Or better yet, he's facing them.
He lollygagged the ball around the infield.
He lollygagged his way down to first.
He lollygagged in and out of the dugout.
Do you know what that makes him?
I'll let you guess.
Ramirez could play hard, and to be fair, he probably did most of the time. He's a pro.
But fans grew increasingly frustrated with what appeared to be lackluster effort. The days of his dramatic, game-winning, ninth-inning homers have been gone for more than a few summers.
Bitterness from Last Year's Implications and Allusions
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When asked about his future at the end of last season, Ramirez wasn't mean, but he wasn't kind.
He said, "I think any team that comes after me has got to be a team that is ready to win. I don't think any team that is in the rebuilding process or if they're not ready is going to come after me because I'm not that kind of player who is going to wait two, three years then see what happens. Any team that comes after me has got to be ready to win right now."
We see. You think the Cubs won't be competitive for the next three years.
But Theo Epstein doesn't like to lose. And no team spends $130 million expecting to lose. (Naturally, last year's Cubs are a notable exception, probably leading to Ramirez' comments).
Ramirez found his multi-year deal and a team he thinks can compete, signing with Milwaukee.
Strangely, in 2012 that multi-year deal will pay him less than half his 2011 salary.
Because according to ESPN, Ramirez earns $6 million in 2012. He'll get $10 million in 2013. And $16 million (with $6 million deferred) in 2014. There's a $4 million buyout on a mutual option for 2015.
And over the life of the deal, the Brewers are likely to move Ramirez to first base. At that point, he'd become trade bait for an AL team before his contract expires, where he can DH the rest of his career (and relieve the Brewers from the back-loaded deal).
All that to say, Aramis had to know signing with Milwaukee meant Prince Fielder was not staying. Ryan Braun was known to be staring at a 50-game suspension. And he might not finish his contract for the Brewers.
That's the kind of "competitor" Ramirez wanted to play for?
Fine. He can have them. The Cubs will be that competitive.
Ramirez is a good guy, but a declining player.
And Cubs fans weren't crying for a curtain call.