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Is Aramis Ramirez on the Trading Block?

RamirezPhoto: Benny Sieu/US Presswire

A recent report suggested the Los Angeles Dodgers could be thinking about Aramis Ramirez as a potential trade acquisition as they attempt to shore up third base and their inconsistent offense.  This news is not shocking by any means, but we haven’t heard the name of Ramirez thrown out there so much in the world of trade speculation.  Greinke has headlined that group for the Brewers, followed by the likes of K-Rod, Wolf, Kottaras and others.

So, I started to wonder about Ramirez.  He’s batting .272 with an OBP of .346 in 2012.  He has 10 homers.  Ramirez has started to become more of a fully visible cleanup hitter recently; he’s grown into more of the force in the lineup Brewers fans hoped he would be to start the year.  Notoriously a slow starter (it’s been said so often it’s cliché), Ramirez has put up strong RBI and good HR numbers for over a decade, when he’s been healthy.  The Brewers signed him for three years for $36 million in the offseason because they needed a big bat to help out in the wake of Prince Fielder’s departure.  The team couldn’t be picky at that point: they needed a good hitter and at a price they could (kind of) afford.  It didn’t hurt that Ramirez liked the Brewers’ mojo and also the fact that Milwaukee is close to Chicago; Ramirez reportedly didn’t want to move his family across the country.

If the Brewers did get a good offer for Ramirez, however, they would have to consider it, or at least ‘listen’.  He’s due to receive a lot of money over the next two years.  The Brewers need to find ways to take some pressure off the payroll and Ramirez will be among the highest-paid Brewers over the next couple years.  Ramirez has been an OK fit in Milwaukee.  His slow start hasn’t helped fans embrace him quickly, especially since he was a Brewer-killing Cub for so many years.  Those official commercials about him ‘putting up big numbers’ have been scoff-worthy for the first few months of the season.  Still, I like the way Ramirez drives in runs.  More homers are certainly welcome, but the guy can drive in runs in a variety of ways.  But can the franchise replace those RBI somewhere else, or with someone else?  It was hoped that Miller Park might alleviate his ‘slow start’ syndrome.  Can a team hoping to bounce back in a big way next year accommodate another slow first couple of months from Ramirez?

I’m definitely not advocating a Ramirez trade.  I think he’s been a good addition and while he’s not the outspoken leader the team could really use, he’s a veteran player with a lot of experience and seems to be a good guy.  He’s a genuine pro.  This year’s Brewers would be a lot worse off without him.  His defense at third has been better than expected overall.  Sure, he’ll misplay a few here and there, but he’s generally pretty good, sometimes exceptional.  But when a team of such high expectations stumbles as badly and as comprehensively as the Brewers have in 2012, you start to scrutinize all pieces of the puzzle and think about the future and its myriad possibilities.