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Details of Aramis Ramirez deal announced

When the Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez, it was easy to start wondering just how the Brewers were going to fit him into their 2012 payroll, especially with Francisco Rodriguez accepting salary arbitration just a few days ago. As it turns out, the answer is a drastically back-loaded contract.

Ken Rosenthal had the details first this morning:

2012: $6 million
2013: $10 million
2014: $16 million*
2015: $4 million mutual option buyout

The 2014 figure gets an asterisk because the Brewers will only be paying him $10 million that year — $6 million of that money is deferred into future years.

The Brewers needed to get creative if they were going to add Ramirez, and this breakdown certainly fits that description. With just a $6 million salary in 2012, Ramirez ended up sacrificing $10 million in salary in order to get more guaranteed years (he turned down a $16 million option with the Cubs to hit free agency). The reduced 2012 rate also helps the Brewers field a more competitive club by allocating those resources elsewhere, whether it’s paying K-Rod or basically swapping Casey McGehee’s salary for Jose Veras’.

Of course, the downside is adding more salary to later years, which could handcuff the team going forward. With Ramirez’s $10 million added to the mix, the Brewers will now have $48.833 million in 2013 tied up into just five players (Ramirez, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, and Yovani Gallardo). In 2014, the Brewers will have $44.5 million tied up into just Ramirez, Weeks, Braun, and Gallardo — no wonder that $6 million is being deferred.

The future financial outlook is semi-worrisome, but it’s pretty clear that the Ramirez signing was made with eyes mostly set on 2012, whether you’re talking about Ramirez’s baseball skills or his salary breakdown.